MISENHEIMER, N.C. – A pair of Jeff Pettiway (Edgewood, MD) free throws with 46 seconds remaining broke the sixth and final tie of the night as Pfeiffer University dodged a second-half comeback by Urbana for a 100-92 season opening victory in men’s basketball on Friday night in the Merner Gym. Urbana put up 62 second half points coming up just short as the Falcons made eight-straight free throw attempts in those final few seconds.
Pettiway’s jumper with 13:38 to go in the first half created early breathing room for the Falcons as that sparked a 16-0 run. Josh Humphrey (Matthews, NC), Reggie Hollinger (Orlando, FL) and Chris Stokes (Virginia Beach, VA) each drained a three to help put the hosts up 15 at the half way point of the period.
Pfeiffer held that double-digit lead for the remainder of the half as Chris Woods (Thomasville, NC) drained a jumper with 6:41 to go for an 18-point Falcon lead before a Yuki Yamaguchi (Tokyo, JAPAN) free throw put Pfeiffer up 20 with just over two minutes remaining.
After Hollinger started off the second half with another long range three, the Blue Knights comeback began with a basket by Rob Matthews (Delaware, OH) and three-straight threes by Anthony Gage (East Sparta, OH). Pfeiffer freshman Kyler Gregory (Gibsonville, NC) knocked down a three to put the hosts back up 14, but an Urbana 8-0 run, brought the visitors within six after a Marcus Pearl (Cleveland, OH) charity stripe basket with 14:03 to play.
After threes by Gregory and Hollinger, Urbana’s Ramel Mitchell (Akron, OH) drained his own triple getting the Blue Knights again within a half dozen. Down by just two at the half way point, Gage would drain three free throws after a Pfeiffer foul to give the Blue Knights their first lead of the night with 9:13 remaining.
Both teams traded jumpers and three-balls not carrying a lead of more than four until Humphrey’s free throw at 4:52 made it a five point contest. With just over two minutes to play, Mitchell knocked down two more threes for Urbana while Sharif Muhammad’s (Brooklyn, NY) triple tied the contest for the final time with 64 seconds remaining. Pettiway would then start the clutch free-throw shooting for the Falcons to hold off the Blue Knights over the final minute of play.
Urbana’s Robert Wilson (Streetsboro, OH) and Pfeiffer’s Woods each had identical double-doubles with 27 points and 11 boards. Each team had five players finish in double figures. Pfeiffer held the slight advantage of 12-11 in made triples and 39-37 on the glass.
Both teams are back in action on Saturday night as the Highway 52 Shootout moves to Catawba’s Goodman Gym. Urbana will square off with the host Indians at 7:30 p.m. while the Falcons take on Livingstone 30 minutes after.