While the annual Christmas Tree lighting was taking place outside of Kornegay Arena, the University of Mount Olive men's basketball team was lighting up the inside of the arena as the Trojans shot a season-high 62.1 percent from the field on their way to a 98-56 victory over Southern Wesleyan University Tuesday in Conference Carolinas action. Dontrell Brite led five players in double figures with 15 points as the Trojans played their bench for the final 10-plus minutes of the second half. Tuesday's contest was part of Mount Olive Tribune Night at Kornegay Arena.
After Mount Olive (4-4 overall, 1-1 Conference Carolinas) scored the first six points of the game on three-pointers by Brite and Jaquan Blount, John Wieland's steal set up Mike Moore with a thunderous one-handed slam dunk on the right side of the rim to force Southern Wesleyan use a timeout less than three minutes into the contest. A putback by Wieland and a layup by Brite stretched the Trojans lead to 16-3 with 15:47 left in the first half.
Southern Wesleyan (1-7, 0-2) cut the margin to single digits as De'Quan Weldon hit a three-pointer and D.J. Dobson finished his own steal at midcourt with a dunk to pull the Warriors within 26-18. The lead went back to double figures on Dominique Reed's putback and Wieland followed with a three-pointer.
The Warriors got as close as 10 before Blount's reverse putback ignited a 12-2 run to push the lead to the 20-point mark at 45-25 with 2:42 remaining. Jacque Brown hit both ends of a 1-and-1 with 4.1 seconds left and Mount Olive went into the locker room with a 52-30 advantage.
The Trojans shot 64.5 percent (20-for-31) from the field in the first half as all five UMO starters scored at least eight points before halftime.
Moore, Brite and Blount connected on three-pointers early in the second half to stretch the Trojans' lead past the 30-point mark and the margin surpassed 40 points on Cecil Moore's three-pointer with 50 seconds left.
Blount and Moore both finished with 13 points and six rebounds, while Reed scored all of his 11 points in the first half. Mykel Hart scored all of his 10 points off the bench in the second half. Brite dished out eight assists, while Reed had six rebounds and five blocks.
The win was Mount Olive's second in three days. The Trojans shot over 50 percent from the field in both wins.
Dobson shared game-high honors with 15 points off the bench for Southern Wesleyan. Jamaral Kearse added 11 points and Tyus Gaines had five assists.
Mount Olive continues Conference Carolinas play Saturday as the Trojans travel to Belmont, N.C., to take on Belmont Abbey College. The Trojans won both of last year's meetings. Tip-off is 4 p.m.