Mike Moore's halfcourt bank shot at the end of regulation was ruled after the buzzer and University of Mount Olive managed only one field goal in overtime as the nationally fifth-ranked Trojans fell to Virginia State University 66-64 on the opening night of the 50th Annual University of Mount Olive Pickle Classic Friday at Kornegay Arena. Dontrell Brite led all players with 19 points for the Trojans while Dominique Reed matched a career high with seven blocked shots.
Mount Olive (2-2) saw a 12-point first half lead cut down to one early in the second half before Brite scored the first seven points of a 10-2 run that was capped by Moore's three-pointer to give the Trojans a 47-38 advantage. Virginia State scored the next five points before Reed's basket with 13:41 left in regulation gave Mount Olive a 49-43. The Trojans would be held without a field goal for the remainder of regulation, scoring all of their remaining 11 second half points from the free throw line.
Virginia State (3-1) took its first lead of the second half and only its second lead of the game as Javon Moore's layup put VSU on top 51-50 with 10:32 remaining. Virginia State built the lead to 58-52 with 7:51, but managed only one field goal the for the rest of regulation, going scoreless over the final six-plus minutes.
Tayon Gleaves and Reed combined to hit 3-of-4 free throws to cut the margin in half, then Moore and Jamaal Matin combined on 3-of-4 free throws to pull Mount Olive within 60-58 with 2:48 left. A blocked shot by Moore led to a Virginia State turnover with less than two minutes left and Brite knocked down a pair of free throws to tie the game 60-60 with 1:28 left in the second half.
After both teams failed to score on their next possession, Virginia State played for the last shot, but the shot attempt was off the mark and the rebound was last touched by VSU with 1.5 seconds left. Having to go the length of the court, Moore took the inbounds pass in the backcourt, dribbled to halfcourt and heaved a shot that went off the glass through the net.
Mount Olive fans started to celebrate, but officials immediately waved off the basket as the shot came just after the buzzer.
Moore sank a pair of free throws for Mount Olive for the first points of overtime, but the Trojans would go 2-for-6 from the line in the extra period after hitting 24-of-29 attempts in regulation. Virginia State went scoreless through three-plus minutes of overtime before Kevin Williams took over for VSU. Williams blocked a UMO three-point attempt from the left corner on one end, then finished with a three-pointer of his own to put Virginia State on top to stay 63-62. After a Mount Olive miss, Williams added a pair of free throws to give VSU a three-point lead with 1:16 left in overtime.
Matin's putback with 57 seconds left – Mount Olive's first field goal in nearly 18 minutes of game time – pulled the Trojans within 65-64. Mount Olive made a defensive stop and had a chance to regain the lead, but a Trojan jumper missed the mark and Walter Williams pulled down the rebound for Virginia State with 12 seconds left. The clock ran down to 3.9 seconds before Mount Olive was able to foul and Tyler Peterson hit the first attempt, but missed the second attempt.
Mount Olive had no timeouts left and shot from just beyond halfcourt beat the buzzer, but caromed off the top of the glass to end the game.
In the first half, Jaquan Blount and Brite knocked down three-pointers for Mount Olive's first points of the night and the Trojans built a 19-15 lead. Virginia State rallied and Walter Williams' three-pointer with 3:49 remaining in the first half gave VSU its first lead of the game at 25-23.
The lead was short-lived as Gleaves sparked a 14-0 Trojan run, sandwiching three-pointers around a pair of Reed free throws to put Mount Olive ahead for the remainder of the half. After Gleaves saved a missed shot from going out of bounds and John Wieland chased the ball down in the backcourt, Gleaves sank all three free throws after getting fouled on another three-point attempt.
Reed blocked a shot and made a steal to set up the final points of the Trojans' run as Gleaves dished to Moore for a three-pointer to give Mount Olive a 37-25 lead with 1:24 left before halftime. Virginia State used Kevin Williams' three-point play with exactly one minute left to end Mount Olive's run and Waymond Wright's jumper from the free throw line with six seconds left cut the Trojans' lead to 37-30 at the break. Virginia State scored the first six points of the second half for its own 11-0 run.
Moore finished with 14 points, while Gleaves scored nine of his 11 points in the first half. Reed flirted with a triple-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Mount Olive was only 4-for-34 from the field after halftime and was 16-for-67 (23.9 percent) for the game.
Kevin Williams led three Virginia State players in double figures with 12 points.
In the opener, UNC Pembroke held off Barton 79-67. Barton rallied from a 12-point second half deficit, but Brandon Watts hit back-to-back three-pointers in a span of 28 seconds with less than four minutes left to break a 60-60 tie and put UNC Pembroke ahead to stay. Watts led the Braves with 26 points and 12 rebounds, while Danny Shand had 21 points for the Bulldogs.
The 50th Annual Pickle Classic concludes with a pair of games Saturday at Kornegay Arena. Barton takes on Virginia State at 5 p.m., followed by Mount Olive vs. UNC Pembroke at 7:30 p.m.