MAYAGUEZ, Puerto Rico — The Braves are flying home perfect.
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke men’s basketball team won its third game in three days Saturday afternoon in Puerto Rico, downing Puerto Rico-Bayamon, 77-61, to win the Mayaguez Basketball Classic championship.
Sophomore forward Brandon Winford led the Braves (3-0) in scoring for the second straight game with 18 points. Quamain Rose added 12 and pitched in five steals. UNCP opens the home slate Friday against Limestone at 5:30 p.m. in the UNCP Invitational.
Picked to finish fifth in the top-heavy Peach Belt Conference this season, the Braves battled three Division I programs to the wire during the exhibition slate before the unbeaten trip to Puerto Rico.
During Friday’s 80-70 win over Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, Winford’s double-double fueled the Braves.
“This was a good hard-fought win for the Braves,” UNCP head coach Ben Miller said before the tournament final. “We kept our composure during a physical game and had a good balance in scoring with five guys in double figures. The guys did a great job in controlling the lead and holding onto it down the stretch. We need to get ready for tomorrow because the game will be even tougher with us facing the best team so far with great coaching.”