When Carson Mounce played for Mount Airy High School, he specialized in high-percentage shots. Many Granite Bears games featured at least one dunk from the 6’10” big man.
He’s not missing very much in his second season of college basketball for UNC-Pembroke, either.
The sophomore center is shooting 71.4 percent from the field for the 13-4 Braves, who are tied for first place in the East Division of the highly competitive Peach Belt Conference. Going into a late Wednesday night game at Lander University, UNCP had won four straight games, three of them against teams in strong contention for the PBC title. Included in that streak was a come-from-behind 92-83 victory over Montevallo, a traditional Division II power in which the Braves trailed by 12 with 14:22 remaining, but stormed back behind a 69 percent shooting effort to win.
Mounce, who hit three of the four shots he took in the Montevallo game, has been doing his part when it comes to not missing. In the team’s most recent game, an 89-71 win over North Georgia on Jan. 16, he made all four of his field-goal attempts. Two nights earlier, when the Braves beat Young Harris 90-74, Mounce shot 4-for-5.
His season-high in scoring came in an early-season game against Catawba, where he earned a starting assignment and scored a dozen points on 6-for-7 shooting. For most of the 2016-17 season, he has played the same role as he did in his freshman season, coming off the bench as one of the team’s top frontcourt reserves. He has started three games for UNCP this season, and averaged 12.5 minutes per game, with a season-high of 18 coming on Dec. 19 in a 78-61 win over Georgia Southwestern.
One highlight of the season came in a game that didn’t even count. In early November, the Braves played an exhibition game at UNC-Chapel Hill, where UNCP was not surprisingly beaten handily. However, Mounce was the one Brave who was able to perform against the Tar Heels with some level of efficiency, shooting 4-for-9 from the field and tallying eight points and four rebounds in 23 minutes of action. He had just one turnover and blocked a shot in the contest, which didn’t count on the official record for either team.
Following Wednesday night’s game, UNCP has 10 regular-season games remaining on its schedule. The Braves will probably need to win the PBC tournament to earn a spot in the NCAA Division II Tournament field, but they will be well-positioned to do so if they can remain atop the East Division. The winner of the PBC East will have homecourt advantage in the league tournament as long as it wins.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.