GREENWOOD – Akia Pruitt scored 19 points including the go-ahead three-point play as Peach Belt Conference East leading UNC Pembroke outlasted the Lander Bearcats 83-81 in overtime Monday night at Horne Arena.
Lander's four-game winning streak came to an end. The Bearcats fell to 9-13 overall, 6-7 in the PBC.
The Braves improved to 17-7, 10-5.
UNC Pembroke, Augusta and USC Aiken are tied atop the Peach Belt East at 10-5. Lander is in fourth place, staying in position to qualify for the PBC tournament.
There were five ties and 10 lead changes in the game.
Lander's Rahu Purdie led all scorers with 21 points. JR Washington added 15 points while leading the Bearcats with four assists. Jarryd Coleman also had 15 points for Lander, making five 3-pointers out of seven attempts.
Washington currently sits in third place on Lander's all-time scoring list. He has 1,695 career points and is 139 points away from tying Clinton Cobb for second place. Washington has also scored at least 10 points in each of his last 58 games.
Nigel Grant added 17 points for UNC Pembroke while Brandon Watts scored 14 points. James Murray-Boyles led the Braves with nine rebounds while Grant added eight boards. Murray-Boyles also had eight points while Mike Smith added eight points off the bench. Alex Bradley led the visitors with four assists.
Ross made a 3-pointer from the top of the key, giving Lander a 13-11 lead at the 14-minute mark. Washington's 3 off Tate's tough offensive rebound increased the Bearcat advantage to 20-16 with 9:06 left.
After UNC Pembroke regained the lead, Coleman swished a 3 from the right corner to put Lander back on top 25-23 with 6:42 to go. Purdie answered Grant's game-tying put-back with consecutive 3s, giving the Bearcats a 31-25 advantage with 5:12 left.
Coleman's long 3 off Srdjan Ivic's back-court steal increased Lander's lead to 34-27 with 4:29 to go.
Quamain Rose hit an open 3 in the final seconds of the first half to pull the Braves within 41-40 at the break.
Coleman's fifth 3 of the game gave the Bearcats a 44-40 lead in the opening minute of the second half.
But Watts tied it with a four-point play after being fouled while hitting a 3-pointer, then nailed two more treys to put Pembroke in front 50-44. Grant's dunk off Micah Kinsey's assist gave the Braves a 54-49 lead with 13:19 left.
Murray-Boyles hit a 3, upping Pembroke's advantage to 59-53 with 11:45 to go. Kinsey's basket gave the Braves a 64-55 lead with 9:38 left.
But Lander went on a 12-2 run to re-take the lead. Gabriel scored inside, Purdie hit a 3, Tate made a driving layup, Washington hit a layup off Tate's nice pass in the paint, Tate made two of two free throws, and added one more giving Lander a 67-66 lead with 5:32 to go.
Pembroke regained the lead on a strange sequence. After Purdie was charged with an intentional foul, Rose hit two free throws for a 69-67 advantage. But the Bearcats pointed out that the wrong player shot free throws. So Kinsey was sent to the line, the two points were taken off the board, and Kinsey made one of two free throws for a 68-67 lead with 4:05 left.
The Braves were awarded possession due to the intentional foul, Kinsey was fouled again but missed both free throws. About a minute later after an empty Lander possession, Watts made just one of two from the line and Pembroke led 69-67 at the three-minute mark.
After Washington made one of two free throws, the Bearcats regained the lead when Gabriel made a layup off Washington's steal putting the hosts in front 70-69 with 2:16 to go.
Pruitt made one of two free throws to tie the game at 70 with 1:07 left.
The teams traded turnovers as Washington was whistled for traveling and Watts was called for an offensive foul, giving Lander the ball with 36 seconds to go.
Washington took a high pass from Tate and was fouled on an undercut with 20 seconds left, sending him to the line where he made both free throws for a 72-70 Bearcats lead.
It was Pembroke's turn and after Bradley misfired on a 3-point attempt inside 10 seconds left and Murray-Boyles missed a tip-in, Grant made the put-back to tie the game at 72 with four seconds to go.
Lander's Purdie turned the ball over with six-tenths of a second left, but Tate intercepted Pembroke's lob at the basket sending the game into overtime.
Washington's three-point play gave the Bearcats a 75-74 lead with 4:24 to go. Purdie's three-point play upped Lander's lead to 78-76 with 3:34 left. Murray-Boyles made two free throws to tie the game at 78 at the 3:19 mark.
Pruitt's tip-in put the Braves back on top and Washington's free throws tied it at 80-all with 2:13 left.
After each team turned the ball over, Pruitt once again gave Pembroke a lead when his three-point play made it 83-80 with 1:03 to go.
Ross made one of two free throws with 50 seconds left and after the Braves threw the ball away as Tate intercepted an errant inside pass, Lander had one more opportunity. But Washington missed a 3-point attempt off the front of the rim while falling to the floor as time expired.