Mount Olive held unbeaten King nearly 20 points below its scoring average, but a late rally came up short as the Trojans fell 73-66 in Conference Carolinas men's basketball Tuesday at Kornegay Arena. Jordan McCain helped spark the comeback and led the Trojans with 18 points, while Dory Hines finished just two assists shy of the first triple-double in MOC men's basketball history.
Free throws proved to be a factor as Mount Olive was 11-for-23 from the line, compared to 29-for-31 for King.
For the second game in a row, Mount Olive (1-3 overall, 0-2 Conference Carolinas) rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit as Ewon Wright's three-pointer with 8:22 left to play tied the game 55-55. King (5-0, 2-0) regained the lead on its next possession on Jason Seymore's second-chance basket and the Tornado led the remainder of the game.
King's lead grew to four before Darrell Patterson's three-pointer pulled Mount Olive within 62-61 with 4:50 remaining. The Trojans went scoreless for the next three-plus minutes as King pulled away. Logan Lyle was fouled on a three-point attempt with 4:08 left and made all three free throws.
Kendall Hargrove's free throw with 1:26 left ended Mount Olive's scoring drought, but Drew Standifer answered with a pair of free throws for King to extend the Tornado's lead to 69-62 with 44 seconds left. Mahammed Ibrahim's 10-foot jumper in the lane nine seconds later gave Mount Olive its first field goal in more than four minutes and set up a wild defensive sequence.
After a Trojan 30-second timeout, Mount Olive forced a held ball in the backcourt with the possession arrow pointed in King's favor. The Trojans knocked the ball out of bounds two more times before Deshaune Green forced another tie-up and gave Mount Olive the ball with 23 seconds left.
McCain took the ball from the right wing and went all the way to the left side for a layup to pull Mount Olive within 69-66 and make it a one-possession game with 21 seconds left. McCain drew a foul on the drive, but was unable to convert the three-point play. The ensuing scramble on the floor for the loose ball after the missed free throw resulted in a foul called against Mount Olive. After an extended discussion to determine who should be at the line, Michael Fortune hit both free throws to make it a two-possession game again. Standifer added two more free throws with 10 seconds left for the final score.
The game got off to a frantic pace as Dory Hines put home a slam dunk off of Deshaune Green's opening tip. King led by as many as six before Mount Olive stormed back with a 16-3 run.
McCain scored seven consecutive points and Patterson's three-pointer with 7:17 left in the first half gave Mount Olive its biggest lead at 28-21. The Trojan defense limited King to a lone three-point field goal over a span of more than four minutes during the run.
King used a layup and a slam dunk putback by Malcolm St. Louis to end the scoring drought and St. Louis put the Tornado back on top 29-28 with a pair of free throws with 4:39 remaining. Mount Olive regained the advantage after Hines' putback off a missed three-point attempt as the shot clock expired as the lead changed hands four times over the next 90 seconds.
Eddie Piccinini hit 4-of-4 free throws as King came back and built a five-point lead with just over a minute left. Hines put back his own shot with 29 seconds left as Mount Olive pulled within 39-36 at the break.
King held Mount Olive scoreless for the first four minutes of the second half and went on to build a 53-44 lead with 13:38 left to play. The Trojans came back with eight unanswered points as McCain and Dontrell Brite combined for steals on three consecutive possessions.
After McCain hit a pair of free throws off his steal, Brite followed with a steal off the dribble at midcourt and hit an uncontested layup. McCain then skied to intercept a near length-of-the-court pass and finished the play with a jumper from the left corner off of Brite's dish to pull the Trojans within 53-52 with 10:54 left in the contest. Eddie Piccinini answered with a layup for King before Wright knocked down his game-tying three-pointer for Mount Olive.
Hines finished with 11 points, 12 rebound and eight assists to mark his second straight game of coming within three or fewer assists from a triple-double. Wright also had 11 points for Mount Olive, while Patterson added 10 points.
Piccinini led six King players in double figures with 15 points, hitting 11-of-12 free throws. Standifer was 7-of-8 from the line and added 13 points. King entered Tuesday's contest averaging 92.0 points per game and was coming off back-to-back 103-point performances.
Mount Olive returns to action Saturday afternoon as the Trojans play host to Erskine in a Conference Carolinas match-up at Kornegay Arena. Tip-off is 4 p.m. and is the second part of a basketball doubleheader Saturday. The Trojan women's basketball team hosts Erskine at 2 p.m.