Jordan McCain led four players in double figures with 18 points and Mount Olive withstood a frantic rally as the Trojans defeated Queens 81-78 in non-conference men's basketball Saturday at Charlotte, N.C. The Trojans had to hold on for their third straight win after the Royals battled back from a 17-point second-half deficit.
Mount Olive (3-1) took its biggest lead of the game at 65-48 after John Wieland's three-pointer with 11:31 remaining in the contest. The Trojans still led 74-58 with 8:09 left after a fastbreak layup by Kendall Hargrove, but a four-minute scoring drought allowed Queens (1-1) to get back into the game.
Josh Clyburn and Jarrett Stokes combined for all the points in a 12-0 run as Queens pulled within 74-70 with 4:21 left to play. Wieland ended Mount Olive's scoreless streak with a three-pointer with 3:50 remaining. The Royals got as close as 77-75 after Joby Glymph's basket with 2:08 remaining. McCain sank a pair of free throws with 1:35 left and extended the Trojans' lead to 81-75 with two more free throws with 1:02 left after Queens missed a pair of free throws.
Mount Olive kept Queens in the game by missing its next five free throws and the Royals made it a one-possession game on Brent Evans' basket with two seconds left. A Trojan turnover gave the Royals a chance to tie the game with one second remaining, but a three-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark.
In the first half, Dory Hines' jumper with 15:46 left gave Mount Olive an 8-7 lead and the Trojans led the remainder of the game. Ewon Wright hit a three-pointer four minutes later to give Mount Olive its first double-digit advantage at 25-14. The margin grew to as many as 13 points before Queens made a late run to pull within single digits. Jarrett Stokes hit a layup with six seconds left and the Royals cut the Trojans' lead to 40-34 at halftime.
Queens pulled within 40-38, but Hines converted a three-point play and Kendall Hargrove blocked a shot on one end and scored on the other end to give Mount Olive a 49-40 lead with 16:43 left. A three-pointer by Dontrell Brite pushed the margin back into double figures as the Trojans went on to build their biggest lead before the Royals mounted their comeback.
Saturday's contest marked the first meeting between the two teams since Queens left Conference Carolinas to join the South Atlantic Conference during the summer.
Brite finished with 16 points and seven assists for Mount Olive, while Wieland scored 14 points and Hargrove added 12 points, three steals and three blocked shots. Hines pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. The Trojans were outrebounded for the first time this season, 41-39.
Evans led all players with 25 points and 10 rebounds for Queens. Stokes finished with 21 points and Clyburn added 11 points.
Mount Olive is idle until next weekend when the Trojans play host to the 48th Annual Pickle Classic at Kornegay Arena. Mount Olive takes on Saint Augustine's Friday and Virginia State Saturday. Tip-off both nights is 7:30 p.m. Barton faces Virginia State Friday and Saint Augustine's Saturday in the 5 p.m. game both days.