SOUTH PRINCE GEORGE, Va. -- Freshman Brandon Henry/Chester scored a team-high 15 points, but No. 5 Richard Bland College dropped a 78-71 Region 10 Conference men's basketball decision to No. 6 Louisburg (N.C.) College on Wednesday night at Statesman Hall. Sophomore Deandre Clark/Orange added 12 points, and classmate Jaquan Wooten/Kinston, North Carolina had 10 points for the host and nationally-ranked Statesmen (20-4, 13-2), who fell at home for the first time this season (8-1), and had their recent seven-game winning streak stopped. Derek McKnight scored a game-high 19 points, and Troy Locke added 17 points for the visiting Hurricanes (20-3, 14-1), who won their 14th-straight contest.
Richard Bland got on the scoreboard first with a three-point field goal by Clark just 18-seconds into the highly-anticipated contest that featured two NJCAA Division II Top 10-ranked teams and drew a capacity crowd of 804. Clark added three free throws when fouled on a three-point attempt at 18:43 for a 6-5 advantage. The Statesmen led 12-11 at 14:45 after a layup from sophomore Myles Markland/Petersburg, but Louisburg used a 14-0 run to lead 25-12 at the 10-minute mark. McKnight scored the first nine-straight points during the run by the visitors. The hosts were within 25-19 at 8:40 following a free throw by Wooten, before the Hurricanes extended the margin and took their largest lead of the night at 36-22 with 5:30 remaining in the first half. Richard Bland battled back, however, and was within 40-34 at the intermission as Clark (9) and Henry (8) combined for 17 first-half points.
Louisburg scored the first six points of the second half to lead 46-34 at 17:39, taking its largest lead of the second half. Richard Bland once-again fought back and closed to within 46-40 at 15:30 after another three-pointer by Clark, and the Statesmen were within 50-46 at 12:15 following a layup from Henry. Four free throws by McKnight that sandwiched a three-pointer by the Hurricanes had the score at 57-53 with 10:08 on the clock. Consecutive layups from Henry and Wooten, respectively, tied the game at 57-57 with 8:17 left, but the visitors again extended their margin back to 63-58 with 5:23 to go, as Locke scored three quick points. A layup by sophomore Gevon Arrington/Petersburg, followed by an Arrington three-pointer and a layup by freshman Tim Bing Jr./District Heights, Maryland tied the contest for the final time at 65-65 with 3:24 remaining. Louisburg scored eight unanswered points, including five from Locke, to lead 73-65, while closing the game on a 13-6 run for the final margin.
Henry led Richard Bland with his 15 points. Clark added 12 points for the Statesmen. Wooten finished with 10 points, adding a game-high nine rebounds. Arrington and Bing each had seven points, while Markland contributed six points. Freshman Ricky Hicks/Bronx, New York had a game-high six assists. Richard Bland shot 44% (27-62) from the field, including 38% (6-16) on three-pointers, and 39% (11-28) at the free throw line.
McKnight led Louisburg with his game-high 19 points, including 8-10 free throws. Locke added 17 points for the Hurricanes, including 7-8 free throws, along with seven rebounds. LC shot 44% (20-45) from the field, including 41% (7-17) on three-pointers, and 71% (31-44) at the line – for the difference in the game (+20).
Richard Bland and Louisburg were playing for the ninth time in the sport of men's basketball, and the Hurricanes now lead the closely-played rivalry series at 6-3. Six of the nine contests between the two schools have been decided by seven points or less, including a 71-66 win by Louisburg in the first meeting this season on January 14 in North Carolina.
Richard Bland remains at home to complete the regular season, as the Louisburg game was the first of six consecutive contests in Statesman Hall over the next three weeks. The Statesmen will host CCBC-Dundalk (Md.) on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 12 at 3 p.m., followed by home games against Patrick Henry (Wednesday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m.), Bryant & Stratton (Saturday, Feb. 18, 3 p.m.), Vance-Granville (N.C.) (Wednesday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m.) and Wake Tech (N.C.) (Saturday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m.).