Dominique Reed scored a career-high 22 points and Kendall Hargrove and Dory Hines helped seal the win from the free throw line late in the game as Mount Olive held off Saint Augustine's 78-72 on the opening night of the 48th Annual Mount Olive Pickle Classic Friday at Kornegay Arena. The win extended the Trojans' winning streak to four.
Mount Olive (4-1) led by 11 points early in the second half and the Trojans still held a double-digit lead with 6:35 remaining after Dontrell Brite's steal and two free throws made it a 65-55 game. Saint Augustine's (2-2) scored the next six points before Jordan McCain hit a three-pointer for Mount Olive. But Joel Kindred answered with a three-pointer of his own to pull the Falcons within 68-64 with 3:55 remaining.
Saint Augustine's made it a one-possession game after Jonathan Crawley's three-point play with 2:26 left drew the Falcons within 71-69. The Trojan defense would go on to hold Saint Augustine's without a field goal the remainder of the contest.
Hines answered on Mount Olive's next possession with a slashing reverse layup down the lane and Hargrove hit a pair of free throws to extend the Trojans' lead to 75-70 with 1:13 remaining. Crawley hit a pair of free throws for Saint Augustine's to again make it a one-possession contest, but Hines sank both of his free throws to make it a 77-72 game with 41.8 seconds left as the Trojans held on for the win.
In the first half, dunks by Mike Moore and Hargrove propelled Mount Olive to an early seven point lead, but Saint Augustine's answered with a 10-2 run as Raheem Joliffe's three-pointer gave the Falcons a 17-16 lead with 13:09 left in the first half. The lead changed hands five times before John Wieland hit a pair of three-pointers and Reed put home a slam dunk off of Hargrove's length-of-the-court pass to give the Trojans a 37-31 lead with 4:59 left before halftime.
Mount Olive went nearly four minutes without a field goal as Saint Augustine's rallied to tie the game. Brite's layup with 28 seconds left broke the deadlock and the Trojans went into the locker room with a 42-40 halftime lead. Reed scored 15 of his points in the first half on 7-for-9 shooting.
Hargrove capped a 9-0 run early in the second half on an alley-oop slam dunk off of Hines's inbounds pass to give Mount Olive a 55-44 lead with 16:11 left. The Falcons got as close as four points before Wieland hit a three with 10:58 remaining as the Trojans built the lead back up to double digits.
Hines scored nine of his 15 points from the free throw line and dished out five assists to move within two assists of becoming only the second player in Trojan men's basketball history to reach the career 500 assist mark. Derek Staton holds the school record with 524 assists.
Reed finished 10-for-14 from the field and also pulled down six rebounds. Wieland added 11 points off the bench, while Hargrove tallied eight points, eight rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.
Crawley led four Saint Augustine's players in double figures with 15 points and Amere May added 14 points. Two Falcons recorded double-doubles as Daniel Clark had 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Kindred finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Saint Augustine's outrebounded Mount Olive 45-37.
In Friday's opening game, Brandon Farmer's free throw with 1:12 remaining broke a 55-55 tie and Virginia State held on for a 58-56 victory over Barton. DeShon Dabbs led VSU with 11 points, while Chris Flemmings scored a game-high 16 points for Barton. Both teams struggled from the free throw line as Virginia State (3-1) was 15-for-28, while Barton (2-3) shot 12-for-25 from the line.
The Pickle Classic concludes Saturday with two games as the teams flip-flop opponents. Barton faces Saint Augustine's at 5 p.m. and Mount Olive takes on Virginia State Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in a battle of Trojans vs. Trojans.