Dontrell Brite, JaQuan Blount and Jordan McCain all surpassed the 20-point mark as nationally 14th-ranked University of Mount Olive overcame an early deficit to extend its winning streak to 10 with an 89-73 victory over Barton College in Conference Carolinas men's basketball Wednesday at Kornegay Arena. Brite finished with 24 points, Blount had 23 points and McCain added 22 points.
Mount Olive (21-2 overall, 14-1 Conference Carolinas) fell behind 9-2 in the first three-plus minutes of the contest and still trailed 19-11 with 11:01 remaining in the first half before Brite and McCain keyed a Trojan rally. After the two players sandwiched layups around a Barton turnover, Brite's skip pass found McCain in the right corner for a three-pointer to pull Mount Olive within a point. McCain sank a pair of free throws to put the Trojans on top for the first time and Brite followed with two free throws to complete a run of 11 unanswered points and give Mount Olive a 22-19 lead with 8:47 left before halftime.
Mount Olive held a five-point lead with just over five minutes left before breaking the game open with a 17-2 run. After a layup by Blount, Brite converted a steal into an uncontested layup. The Trojans held the Bulldogs without a free throw over a four-minute span and Mike Moore's 10-foot jumper gave Mount Olive a 48-28 lead with 1:25 remaining.
After Barton (12-10, 8-6) ended its field goal drought on Danny Shand's basket, Moore hit another jumper for Mount Olive. Kendall Patterson hit a pair of free throws for the Bulldogs as the Trojans went into the locker room with a 50-32 halftime lead.
Blount answered a Barton three-point play to open the second half with back-to-back three-pointers to give Mount Olive its biggest lead of the game at 56-35 with 18:33 left to play. Barton made a late run to close the gap to single digits after Jake Veasley's layup with 5:23 remaining pulled the Bulldogs within 72-63. Moore hit a 15-foot jumper on Mount Olive's next possession and the margin stayed in double figures the remainder of the contest.
McCain was 7-for-9 from the field, Blount was 8-for-12 and Brite was 8-for-15. Brite also hit 8-of-9 free throws and dished out a game-high eight assists. McCain pulled down a team-high eight rebounds and was 6-for-7 from the line. As a team, Mount Olive shot 56.4 percent (31-for-55) from the field and 84.6 percent (22-for-26) from the line.
Shand led Barton with 21 points eight rebounds, six assists and five steals. Dominique Byrd recorded a double-double for the Bulldogs with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The 10-game winning streak marks the fourth time in Mount Olive men's basketball history the Trojans have won 10 or more consecutive games. The school record is 11 consecutive wins.
Mount Olive has a chance to match its school record winning streak Saturday as the Trojans play host to North Greenville in a Conference Carolinas contest. The Trojans won 74-67 at North Greenville in the first meeting. Saturday's contest is part of the 32nd Annual Mount Olive Basketball Church Night. Tip-off is 7 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.