JaQuan Blount scored a game-high 23 points and hit 8-of-8 free throws, including a pair of free throws with 36 seconds left to help seal the win as University of Mount Olive extended its winning streak to 11 with a 75-65 victory over North Greenville University in Conference Carolinas men's basketball Saturday at Kornegay Arena. The winning streak matches a Trojan men's basketball record.
Saturday's contest was part of the 32nd Annual Mount Olive Basketball Church Night, sponsored by Bojangle's.
Mount Olive (22-2 overall, 15-1 Conference Carolinas) saw a four-point halftime lead cut to a single point before Blount's three-pointer helped the Trojans extend the lead to double digits. Dontrell Brite's jumper with 12:45 left to play gave Mount Olive a 49-37 lead.
North Greenville (15-8, 8-7) cut the lead down to single digits after Spencer Reaves' four-point play, but the Trojans built the back to 12 on Tayon Gleaves' three-pointer with 9:55 remaining. Mount Olive maintained a three-possession lead until Phillip Brown's three-point play drew North Greenville within 62-56 with 4:53 left to play.
The margin was still six when Blount hit a three-pointer with 2:38 remaining to give Mount Olive a 67-58 lead. North Greenville got as close as seven before Blount's late free throws put the Trojans' advantage back to double digits.
In the first half, Mount Olive held North Greenville to single digits for more than 13 minutes as the Trojans led 17-9 with less than seven minutes left. North Greenville outscored Mount Olive 15-4 over the next three-plus minutes as Reaves' three-pointer with 3:11 left before halftime gave the Crusaders a 24-23 lead.
Mount Olive would go back on top to stay as Brite and John Wieland connected on three-pointers in the final two minutes to give the Trojans a 30-26 halftime lead.
The Trojans recorded an 11-game winning streak two times prior to this season, in 2003-04 and in 2009-10.
Blount, who scored 23 points in Wednesday's win over Barton, matched his career high for the second straight game. Jordan McCain scored 12 points and Brite added 11 points and five assists. Kendall Hargrove posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds to go with four assists and three steals.
Reaves led North Greenville with 17 points, while Korval McElroy and Jai Jenks added 13 points apiece.
Mount Olive returns to action Wednesday as the Trojans travel to Central, S.C., to take on Southern Wesleyan in a Conference Carolinas match-up. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.