Dontrell Brite scored a career-high 35 points and University of Mount Olive sliced a late 13-point deficit into a two-possession game, but UNC Pembroke held on to defeat the nationally fifth-ranked Trojans in the finale of the 50th Annual Pickle Classic Saturday at Kornegay Arena. Brite and Mike Moore represented the Trojans on the All-Tournament Team.
UNC Pembroke's Quamain Rose, who scored 10 of his 22 points in the final seven-plus minutes of the contest, was named Most Valuable Player. Rose also scored 13 points in the Braves' win over Barton College Friday.
Mount Olive (2-3) spotted UNC Pembroke the first five points of the contest, then stormed back to take a 16-9 lead as Brite hit a three-pointer and converted a three-point play during the Trojans' run. UNC Pembroke rallied to regain the lead 22-21 on Brandon Watts' three-pointer with 6:26 left in the first half.
The Trojans answered with three-pointers by James Rucker and Tayon Gleaves on back-to-back possessions before Rose's three-point play pulled UNC Pembroke within 30-29 with 2:40 left before halftime. Mount Olive added a free throw, but UNC Pembroke (4-1) scored the final eight points of the half to build a 36-31 lead at the break.
Brite scored all of the points in Mount Olive's 9-3 run early in the second half to pull the Trojans within 45-44 with 14:23 left to play. The Trojans had a chance to reclaim the lead after a defensive stop, but a three-point attempt was off the mark. Rose hit a jumper, then added a pair of free throws on UNC Pembroke's next possession as the Braves went on to build the lead to 55-48 with 10:01 remaining.
Jamaal Matin hit a three-pointer for Mount Olive, but Keysheen Hinton answered with a three-point play for UNC Pembroke. Rose hit a jumper for the Braves and after Brite sank a pair of free throws for the Trojans, Rose's three-pointer with 6:49 left gave UNC Pembroke its first double-digit lead at 65-55. After the two teams traded baskets, Rose hit another three to give UNC Pembroke its biggest lead of the game at 70-57 with 4:46 left.
Matin triggered an 8-0 Trojan run with a short jumper, then found Moore for a three-pointer. A basket by Brite and 1-of-2 free throws by Moore pulled Mount Olive within 70-65 with 2:55 left. Jaquan Blount blocked a UNC Pembroke shot from behind to give Mount Olive a chance to extend its scoring run, but the Trojans missed a three-point attempt and a pair of free throws on its next two possessions.
Rose hit a 15-foot jumper with 1:46 remaining and Mount Olive never got closer than five points the rest of the way.
Brite was 12-for-15 from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point range. He also hit 8-of-10 free throws. Matin was Mount Olive's next highest scorer with nine points.
Brandon Winford scored 12 points for UNC Pembroke, while Brandon Watts pulled down a game-high nine rebounds. Winford and Watts joined Rose on the All-Tournament Team.
In the opener, Virginia State University cut a 17-point second half deficit down to five points in the final minute, but Barton held on for a 94-89 victory. Jake Veasley led six Bulldogs in double figures with a game-high 25 points, while Kevin Williams had 13 points and six assists for VSU. Veasley and Danny Shand represented Barton on the All-Tournament Team, while Williams and Tyler Peterson earned All-Tournament honors for Virginia State. Peterson was named to the All-Tournament Team for the second year in a row.
Mount Olive opens Conference Carolinas play Tuesday as the Trojans travel to Banner Elk, N.C., to take on Lees-McRae College. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.