Dory Hines became only the second player in Mount Olive men's basketball history to reach the career 500-assist mark, but the milestone would be the only celebration for the Trojans, which fell to Virginia State 55-51 in the final game of the 48th Annual Mount Olive Pickle Classic Saturday at Kornegay Arena. Both teams went cold in the latter part of the second half, scoring only six points apiece in the final eight-plus minutes. The loss ended Mount Olive's four-game winning streak.
Kendall Hargrove and Dominique Reed were named to the All-Tournament Team for Mount Olive, while Lamar Kearse and Kevin Wiggins represented Virginia State. Daniel Clark of Saint Augustine's and Chris Flemmings of Barton rounded out the All-Tournament Team.
Mount Olive (4-2) trailed by as many as nine points in the first half before a pair of free throws by Hargrove with 34 seconds left pulled the Trojans within 32-27 at halftime. Tip-ins by Reed on back-to-back possessions helped Mount Olive start the second half on a 6-0 run and take its first lead since going ahead 8-7 four minutes into the contest.
Virginia State (4-1) regained the lead as Brandon Farmer's three-pointer and a layup by Kearse helped VSU build the margin up to six. After Jordan McCain hit a pair of free throws for Mount Olive, Farmer answered with a layup to give Virginia State a 49-43 lead with 10:10 remaining. VSU would then go scoreless for more than six minutes.
Mount Olive cut the lead in half, then appeared to seize the momentum when Hines lobbed a pass to Hargrove, who put home a thunderous two-handed slam dunk to pull the Trojans within 49-48 with 7:12 left to play and electrified the crowd of 1,009. Both nights of the Pickle Classic drew a crowd over 1,000.
The dunk, however would be Mount Olive's last field goal of the night. Mike Moore and Reed both had 1-for-2 trips to the free throw line to put the Trojans on top 50-49 with 6:03 remaining. Neither team scored again until Kearse hit a jumper with 3:45 left to play, ending Virginia State's scoring drought and putting VSU ahead to stay. After a defensive stop, Kearse followed with a layup to extend Virginia State's lead to three.
McCain hit 1-of-2 free throws to pull Mount Olive within 53-51 with 41 seconds left and the Trojans appeared to have a defensive stop. But Kearse got the rebound on his own missed shot and sealed the win with a pair of free throws with five seconds remaining.
Hines entered Saturday's contest with 498 assists and after McCain hit a three-pointer with 11:51 left in the first half, John Wieland connected on a three with 9:43 remaining to give Hines his 500th career assist. Hines joins record holder Derek Staton as the only Trojan players to reach the 500-assist mark. Staton (2008-12) finished his career with 524 assists.
Reed scored a game-high 14 points to go with nine rebounds and five blocked shots. McCain added 11 points, while Hargrove finished with nine points, 10 rebounds, five steals and three blocked shots. The Trojans shot 33.3 percent from the field (14-for-42) and were 21-for-34 from the line (61.8 percent).
Kearse was the only Virginia State player in double figures with 11 points. He was only 1-for-4 from the free throw line when he hit the two foul shots to ice the game. Wiggins added nine points and seven rebounds.
In Saturday's first game, Barton defeated Saint Augustine's 81-64 as Chris Flemmings scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half and Daniel McClendon hit 10-of-11 free throws. Daniel Clark led Saint Augustine's with 14 points.
Mount Olive is idle until December 4 when the Trojans open Conference Carolinas play at home against Pfeiffer. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.