Jordan McCain led four players in double figures with 18 points as nationally 15th-ranked University of Mount Olive extended its winning streak to nine and reached the 20-win mark with a 64-53 victory over Erskine College in Conference Carolinas men's basketball Saturday at Due West, S.C. McCain was 5-of-6 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free throw line.
The win gives Mount Olive its eighth 20-win season in school history and the third for seventh-year head coach Joey Higginbotham. The win also keeps the Trojans in sole possession of first place in the conference standings.
After falling behind early, Mount Olive (20-2 overall, 13-1 Conference Carolinas) went on a 17-2 run as Kendall Hargrove's three-point play, along with three-pointers by McCain and JaQuan Blount, gave the Trojans a 19-7 lead with 11:12 left in the first half. The margin stayed in double figures the remainder of the half and reached the 20-point mark for the first time after Tayon Gleaves' three-pointer with 1:02 left gave the Trojans a 33-13 advantage.
Erskine (9-12, 5-9) ended a four-minute scoreless drought on Thomas Cameron's putback with 35 seconds remaining. McCain responded with a putback of his own with six seconds left as Mount Olive led 35-15 at halftime.
Mount Olive's lead grew to as many as 22 points in the second half and remained in double figures until Thomas Nolan sank a pair of free throws for Erskine with 2:24 left in the contest to pull the Flying Fleet within 58-49. The margin never fell below eight points as McCain and Hargrove combined to hit 6-of-8 free throws in the final 47 seconds. McCain capped the game's scoring with a pair of free throws with eight seconds left.
Hargrove narrowly missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds to go with four steals. Blount and Dontrell Brite added 12 points apiece for the Trojans.
Cameron and Ray Lock led Erskine with 17 points apiece.
Mount Olive returns to action Wednesday as the Trojans play host to Barton in a Conference Carolinas match-up. The Trojans swept last year's regular season series. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.