JaQuan Blount has a career high 21 points but it was not enough as the Nationally 9th-ranked University of Mount Olive fell to UNC Pembroke 86-74 Monday night in Pembroke, N.C in non-conference men's basketball. The loss is the first of the year for Mount Olive as they were two wins away from tying the school win streak record in a season. UNC-Pembroke is currently ranked No. 6 in the Southeast Region and Mount Olive sits on top at No. 1.
Mount Olive (9-1) got on the board with the help of the three-ball off the hands of Mike Moore. The lead was cut back as UNC Pembroke (8-1) tied the game with a three from Griffin Pittman. The game exchanged hands five times before the Braves jumped out ahead. Ben Jacobs helped start a streak of six unanswered points with 13:20 to go before halftime and the Braves led by five 18-13.
The game then went back and forth until UNC Pembroke took control with under four minutes left in the first period. Quamin Rose got a steal a break-away layup at the 3:55 mark to spark another run by the Braves. Mount Olive stopped the 8-0 run off a three-pointer by Blount with 1:22 left in the half taking the deficit to 42-39.
UNCP took a five point lead into the break after a last second shot was good which took the score to 49-44.
The Trojans fought back after halftime as they tried to take the lead back from the Braves. A steal by Mount Olive's Blount followed by a dunk by Kendall Hargrove brought the Trojans to within three 63-60 midway through the second period. That was as close as the Trojans got as the Braves did not allow the game to get under three as their lead swelled to as high as 12. UNC-Pembroke ended the game on five straight made free throws.
The loss comes as the first to the Trojans while they began the season with their best start in program history. The winning streak was two shy of the longest winning streak. Mount Olive won 11 games in a row back in the 2003-04 season.
Blount led all scorers for Mount Olive as he added four assists and two rebounds to his 21 point performance. Jordan McCain also had a good night contributing 17 points and nine boards. Hargrove finished with 12 points and eight boards and Moore had 10 points to finish out four players in double figures for the Trojans.
Rose lead the Braves with 22 points and nine boards as four players scored in double digits. Brandon watts finished with 17. Keysheen Hinton had 13 points and Brandon Winford had 12.
Mount Olive returns home on Wednesday night for a non-conference match-up with the No.7 Southeast Regional ranked Wingate University. Mount Olive has won the past two meetings against the Bulldogs. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.