University of Mount Olive thwarted a late second half comeback and hung on to defeat UNC Pembroke 87-80 in non-conference men's basketball Saturday night in Pembroke, N.C. Dontrell Brite went 7-for-8 from the free throw line to clinch the game for the Trojans in the final 33 seconds of the game.
A 16 point Mount Olive (6-4) lead shrunk to four with just seconds left in the game, as UNC Pembroke (5-4) pushed for a comeback. The Braves went on a 10-0 run with just over two minutes left in the game to draw to 80-75 with 33 seconds left. Brite was fouled and his two free throws pushed the lead back to seven. Giavonni Mack hit a big time three-pointer for UNC Pembroke with 28 seconds and the Braves were back to within four.
Brite continued to draw the contact as UNC Pembroke was forced to foul. The senior point guard made five of his last six free throws and Mount Olive held onto the lead until the final horn.
The opening half was a tightly contested game as neither team had a lead higher than five for over three quarters of the half. Brandon Watts for the Braves spouted off six points back-to-back as he connected on a three-pointer and was then fouled from beyond the arch. He converted on all of his free throws and UNC Pembroke led 33-24 with 5:44 remaining before the break. The nine point cushion was the largest the Braves had over the Trojans in the first half. The midway point ended with UNC Pembroke up 39-35.
In the second half the game saw again the two squads keep it close and the lead for either side never went into double figures. It was not until Jacque Brown's three-pointer with 8:05, did Mount Olive have its first 10 point lead, up 64-54. The Trojan lead fell below 10 with a free throw from Brandon Winford with 3:51. Dominique Reed, however converted a three point play and pushed the lead back to 73-61. The Braves continued to chip away and made a final push in the final two minutes of the game, but timely free-throw shooting kept the Trojans alive for the win.
Brite finished the game with 24 points, nine boards, and six assists, nearly missing a triple-double. Mike Moore was close behind Brite with 17 points and six boards. Brown finished with 15 and Reed with 14 to round out the four Trojans in double figures on the night. JaQuan Blount also contributed with seven points and eight assists.
Mount Olive will have a bit of time off until the Trojans head down to Lakeland, Fla. to take on the defending National Champion Florida Southern on December 19. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.