Mike Moore scored seven of his team-high 18 points off the bench during a first-half scoring run that put University of Mount Olive ahead to stay and hit 3-of-4 free throws in the final 37 seconds to help thwart a second-half rally as the Trojans defeated Barton 73-67 in Conference Carolinas men's basketball Thursday at Wilson, N.C. Mount Olive, which entered the game shooting 59 percent from the line, hit eight of its final 10 free throw attempts to seal the win.
Three-pointers by Jordan McCain and Ewon Wright helped Mount Olive (11-7 overall, 5-3 Conference Carolinas) turn a five-point halftime lead into a 38-24 advantage with 17:05 left in the contest. Barton (10-9, 6-3) used Chris Flemmings' four-point play to cut the margin to single digits and a three-pointer by Travis McEachern helped the Bulldogs within 46-44 with 10:56 remaining.
Dontrell Brite followed with baskets on Mount Olive's next two possessions and after a dunk by Moore, another jumper by Brite capped a 12-2 run to push the Trojans' lead to 58-46 with 7:44 remaining. Former Trojan Khari Faison helped Barton cut the margin back to single digits, but Mount Olive maintained at least a two-possession lead until the final minute.
Dory Hines hit 3-of-4 free throws and Mount Olive led 65-60 with 55 seconds left to play. Barton made it a one-possession game on Faison's putback dunk with 47 seconds left, but Wright answered with a pair of free throws two seconds later and the lead stayed at two possessions the rest of the game.
Moore pulled down the rebound on a Barton miss and hit 1-of-2 free throws, then sank a pair of free throws after another Bulldog miss to give Mount Olive a three-possession lead at 70-62 with 28 seconds remaining. Flemmings sank two free throws on Barton's next possession and after McCain hit a pair of free throws for Mount Olive, Flemmings hit a three-pointer to pull the Bulldogs within 72-67 with 15 seconds remaining.
Wright hit 1-of-2 free throws on the Trojans' next possession and Moore pulled down his eighth rebound on a Barton missed three-point attempt as Mount Olive ran out the clock.
In the first half, Mount Olive trailed 16-7 with less than 10 minutes left before baskets by Brite and Hines started the Trojans' comeback. John Wieland's three-pointer and Moore's layup pulled Mount Olive within 18-16 with 6:45 remaining.
After Barton extended the lead to four on a pair of free throws by Brian McNair, Moore's three-point play with 3:46 left gave Mount Olive its first lead of the game at 21-20. Moore added a layup after a Bulldog turnover to give him seven straight Trojan points and Wieland followed with another three-pointer to extend the Trojans' lead to 26-20 with 1:03 left.
Hines' dunk gave Mount Olive its biggest lead of the half, but McNair hit a three-pointer at the buzzer for Barton to cut the Trojans' lead to 28-23 at the half.
Hines narrowly missed his fifth double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds, while Brite finished with 13 points and McCain added 10 points. Mount Olive shot 67.9 percent (19-for-28) from the line, the Trojans' best free throw percentage since shooting 71 percent against GRU Augusta December 22.
Flemmings led all players with 19 points for Barton, while Faison added 11 points. The Bulldogs entered the contest shooting just over 61 percent from the free throw line and went 14-for-24 (58.3 percent) from the line Thursday.
Mount Olive returns to action Saturday evening for the 31st Annual University of Mount Olive Basketball Church Night as the Trojans play host to North Greenville in a Conference Carolinas men's and women's basketball doubleheader. Church groups throughout Eastern North Carolina are invited and general admission tickets are available for $1 per person. The women's game tips off at 5 p.m., followed by the men's game at 7 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.