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Pfeiffer Men’s Basketball tops Averett for USA South East Division crown

The Pfeiffer men’s basketball team built a big first half lead but withstood a late Averett rally to claim a 72-70 victory to win the USA South East Division Championship.

The Falcons started off strong, bolting to an 11-2 lead, but Averett clipped the lead to 11-8 with 12:08 left in the first half. Pfeiffer would then go on to build a 33-17 lead following a Taylan Rowe (Oakboro, N.C.) 3-pointer at the 5:00 mark. The Cougars would get to within 13 points (37-24) but another Rowe 3-pointer staked the Falcons to the 40-24 halftime lead.

Averett steadily chipped away at the Falcon lead, eventually claiming a 51-49 lead after a jumper from Montre’ Cash at 11:03.  Pfeiffer again rallied, this time going up by six points (61-55) after a Sean Scott (Waldorf, Md.) free throw. The Falcon lead would balloon to seven points (64-57), but Averett then embarked on a 10-2 run to take the 67-66 lead with 2:27 left.

Pfeiffer surged to go up 71-67, but Cash delivered for the Cougars, scoring a driving layup while being fouled. His free throw with five seconds remaining made it 71-70.

Averett then fouled Pfeiffer’s Tyjarek Simmons (Roanoke Rapids, N.C.) with four seconds left. Simmons would hit one free throw to bring the score to 72-70.

After an Averett timeout, the Cougars got a good look to tie the game, but a contested driving layup at the buzzer rolled off the side of the rim, sending the Falcons to their first USA South Divisional Title since joining the league.

Rowe led all Pfeiffer scorers with 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers on the game. Teammate Sean Scott had 11 points and six rebounds while freshman Dorian Miles (Greenville, S.C.) contributed eight points and seven rebounds in the win.

Averett’s Raymond Bullock III had a game-high 20 points while Corey Baldwin finished with 19. Cash had 17 points to round out the double-figure scorers for the Cougars.

Because the NCAA canceled the Division III Championship Tournament, the game was the final game of the season for both teams.

Averett finished the season with a 6-7 record while Pfeiffer closed with an 11-2 overall mark.

The USA South East Division Title is the first for a Pfeiffer men’s team and second for the athletic program since reclassifying to Division III. The Pfeiffer women’s soccer program claimed the first divisional title for the school in 2019.

The last men’s basketball championship for the Falcons came in 2017, when Pfeiffer captured the Conference Carolinas Regular Season Title.