Mike Moore droped 26 points as the No. 4 seed University of Mount Olive defeated the No. 1 seed Lincoln Memorial University 75-55 in the semifinals of the 2015 NCAA Southeast Regional Sunday night. Mount Olive will play No. 2 seed University of Montevallo on Tuesday.
Moore got the game started and put the first points of the game home for Mount Olive (29-3) with a fade-away three from the wing. The Trojans quickly jumped out to an 11-0 lead after Lincoln Memorial (30-2) failed to convert on two three-pointers. Mount Olive scored five of the first eleven points in transition. Jordan McCain added two more to the lead with a spin around lay-up with 14:04 left in the first period.
Curtis Webb broke the opening game run by the Trojans with two free throws at the 13:30 mark. JaQuan Blount pushed Mount Olive up with a long three-pointer and Dominique Reed put two more on the board as the Trojans lead went to 18-2 with 12:14. Mike Moore forced Lincoln Memorial to take a timeout after a slam dunk pushed Mount Olive ahead 24-5 with 8:09 left in the first period.
Luquan Choice stopped a lengthy scoring drought by the Railsplitters with a three-pointer with 6:10 to make the lead 27-8 for Mount Olive. The Railsplitters ended the first period with six unanswered points and went into the half down 28-17.
Dontrell Brite got the second half underway with an open three-pointer. The Trojans, after a Lincoln Memorial bucket scored five quick points behind a dunk by Kendall Hargrove and another three from Brite and Mount Olive led 36-19.
Mount Olive went out to a 20 point lead after a three-pointer by Moore and after a Lincoln Memorial bucket, went back up as McCain made good on a lay-up with 16:05.
The Railsplitters scored four straight to make to score 44-30 with 12:55 left in the second period. Brite made good on a jumper on the next possession to give the Trojans a 16 point lead before the under twelve media timeout.
"Sometimes in pressure situations when the shot clock is at ten they look for me to have the ball and someone tries to set a ball screen for me and I just try to make a play off of that" said Brite.
Lincoln Memorial tried to make another run as seven points went up for the Railsplitters. Hargrove ended the run with a dunk with 7:43 and Mount Olive led 54-38. Hargrove made it 59-44 with a dunk as the shot clock neared one.
Both teams exchanged buckets for the next two minutes before Moore was fouled as he went up to the basket and the shot fell with 5:02. He converted the free throw and the Trojans led 64-46. Brite finished off a steal from Blount with a dunk and pushed the lead back to 20 with 4:48 remaining.
With 2:30 left in the second period Blount hit a three-pointer from the corner to give Mount Olive its largest lead of the game 75-51. Mount Olive held the lead and pushed the score back to 20 and the final horn sounded as the Trojans upset the No. 1 seeded Lincoln Memorial Sunday night.
Moore led the offensive for the Trojans with 26 points and went 3-for-3 from three point range.
"I came out aggressive after my performance yesterday I felt like I did not really help my team because I got into foul trouble early. My mindset was to come out more aggressive tonight and help my teammates out" said Moore on his near career high night.
Brite added 16 points and four assists. McCain finished with 13 points. Hargrove had a rebounding performance with 16 boards and added eight points. Mount Olive only had three total turnovers for the game.
"We really locked in tonight defensively and our offensive fed off of our defense . I'm really proud of this group we showed a lot tonight, but we are not done we have to get ready for a super challenging Montevallo team that has a big time player" said coach Joey Higginbotham about the game.
Coach Higginbotham then responded to the team's three turnovers in the game.
"It's something we pride ourselves on. Our assist-to-turnover ratio is one of the best in the country and that is something we take pride in. It's a credit to our guy's unselfishness. 18 assists on 30 field goals, as a coach you cannot get any more prouder than that".
Mount Olive with the win is now the new record holder for most wins in a season with 30, moving past the 2004-05 Trojans men's basketball squad that went to the Elite Eight.
Higginbotham spoke on the season this group has had and what the new win record means to them.
"It's a testament to not only these guys but the guys before us. When I played and the guys that followed the Maurice Horton's and those guys, we have things that those guys didn't because those guys did what they did and we are thankful of what they've done to get us to here. This group has really bought into a program here and a brotherhood that everyone has the others back.
Everything that Coach Bill Clingan did and what I have tried to continue, it is a program win. This team has set the bar really high. I'm proud of the team we beat and this team is just as proud of it, we are a family. 30 is great but I want 31".
The Trojans advance to the Southeast Regional Championship on Tuesday at 7 p.m. where they will meet No. 2 seed University of Montevallo. Mount Olive is one of only two teams nationally to eliminate a No. 1 seed. In the Central Regional No. 4 Northwest Missouri beat No. 1 Augustana 66-65.