SOUTH PRINCE GEORGE, Va. -- Sophomore Gevon Arrington/Petersburg scored a team-high 20 points to lead No. 8 Richard Bland College to an 87-83 Region X Conference men's basketball victory past Pitt (N.C.) Community College on Thursday night at Statesman Hall. Freshman Brandon Henry/Chester added 17 points, and sophomores Deandre Clark/Orange and Jaquan Wooten/Kinston, North Carolina had 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the host and nationally-ranked Statesmen (15-3, 8-1), who led 38-35 at halftime before rallying from a four-point deficit over the final 3:55. Jaiquan Manning scored a game-high 31 points for the visiting Bulldogs (8-7, 5-6).
Richard Bland took an early 6-0 lead on three-point field goals from Arrington and Clark, and led 12-6 at 14:42 after two free throws by sophomore Myles Markland/Petersburg. The Statesmen led 21-16 at 6:27 following a conventional three-point play by Clark, who scored on a layup and made the ensuing free throw. Pitt used a quick 8-2 run to take its first lead at 24-23 with 4:52 on the clock, the last points on a three-pointer by Deonte Jones. Richard Bland, however, battled back behind Henry, who scored 10 of the team's final 15 points of the half, to lead 38-35 at the intermission. Clark and Wooten each scored six first-half points for the hosts.
Richard Bland started the second half strong, getting 11 quick points from Arrington, including a three-pointer to start and an old-fashioned three-point play to end, for its largest lead of the night at 49-36 with 17:13 remaining. The Statesmen still maintained a 10-point advantage at 57-47 with 10:59 left after a two free throws by Henry. Pitt battled back with a 17-3 run to take its largest lead at 64-60 with 7:23 on the clock, getting 10 points from Manning and five points from Jones. The Bulldogs still led 74-70 at 4:14, but Richard Bland fought back in front of a raucous and delighted crowd of 689, outscoring the visitors 17-9 over the final 3:55 for the thrilling victory. Clark and Arrington each made three-pointers down the stretch, and Wooten's free throw at 1:15 put the Statesmen ahead for good at 82-81. Wooten added a layup and another free throw, and Arrington closed the scoring with two free throws with 7.9 seconds remaining.
Arrington led Richard Bland with his team-high 20 points, including 3-5 three-pointers and 7-10 free throws. Henry added 17 points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Statesmen, while Clark had 12 points and three steals, and Wooten contributed 10 points, nine rebounds and a game-high six blocks. Markland finished with seven points, adding a game-high four steals. Richard Bland shot 41% (27-66) from the field, including 31% (8-26) on three-pointers, and 56% (25-45) at the free throw line. The Statesmen enjoyed a 42-16 margin in bench points in a contest that witnessed eight ties and 10 lead changes.
Manning led Pitt with his game-high 31 points, including 13-15 free throws, while Jones added 19 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. The Bulldogs shot 40% (23-58) from the field, including 30% (6-20) on three-pointers, and 66% (31-47) at the line.
Richard Bland and Pitt were playing for the eighth time in the sport of men's basketball, and the Statesmen now lead the series, 6-2.
Richard Bland will play three-straight Region X road games to complete the month of January, beginning at Bryant & Stratton College this Sunday, January 22 at 3 p.m. in Norfolk, followed by a game at Patrick Henry Community College next Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. in Martinsville, before playing at Guilford Technical (N.C.) Community College on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 3 p.m. in Jamestown, North Carolina.