University of Mount Olive led by as many as 13 points in the second half, but Emmanuel College rallied to defeat the Trojans 71-67 in Conference Carolinas men's basketball Wednesday at Kornegay Arena. Dominique Reed led Mount Olive with 16 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, but the Trojans hurt themselves with a season-high 19 turnovers.
The game was Mount Olive's first home contest since December 1.
Mount Olive (9-6 overall, 4-3 Conference Carolinas) took its first double-digit lead at 40-30 with 16:17 left in the contest after Mike Moore's own 5-0 run. Moore drew a foul for a three-point play on a running jumper and followed with a basket from the top of the key. After Emmanuel pulled within six, JaQuan Blount hit a pair of three-pointers and John Wieland added a three to give the Trojans their biggest lead at 49-36 with 12:33 remaining.
Emmanuel (10-3, 5-2) crept back into the game as Zach Lillie's layup with 6:37 left to play capped a 15-4 run and pulled the Lions within 53-51. The two teams traded baskets until Wieland drove the baseline and kicked the ball out to Jacque Brown, who hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to give Mount Olive a five-point advantage. After the under-five minute media timeout, Reed's blocked shot led to a Dontrell Brite layup that extended the Trojans' lead to 62-55 with 4:12 remaining.
Emmanuel came back with eight unanswered points as Kurtis Robinson hit a layup and Emerson McClung connected on back-to-back three-pointers to put the Lions on top for the first time in the second half at 63-62 with 2:45 left. The Lions led the remainder of the contest.
Zach Vess followed with a layup for Emmanuel with 1:26 remaining and Mount Olive missed a tying three-pointer on its next possession. The Lions made it a two-possession game with 37 seconds left when Austin Greene hit an off-balance jumper from just inside the three-point line as the shot clock expired.
A layup by Reed pulled Mount Olive within 67-64 with 28 seconds remaining, but Emmanuel hit 4-of-4 free throws to seal the win. Brite hit a three-pointer from the left corner with one second left for the final score.
In the first half, three-pointers by Moore and Wieland gave Mount Olive a 13-7 lead with 13:14 remaining. Emmanuel answered with back-to-back three-pointers by Steven Guinchard and Kendrick Colvin's layup with 7:34 left put the Lions on top 18-17.
The game was tied four times before Dontrell Brite's three-pointer with 2:50 left broke a 26-26 tie and put the Trojans on top for the remainder of the half. Brite also figured in the final points of the half, preventing a certain turnover with a save on the sideline. Jacque Brown came down with the desperation pass and found Emmanuel Patton underneath for a layup with 30 seconds remaining as Mount Olive went into the locker room with a 31-26 halftime lead.
Moore added 15 points and eight rebounds for Mount Olive, while Brite finished with 12 points and four assists. Blount pulled down nine rebounds as the Trojans outrebounded Emmanuel 47-36.
Guinchard led Emmanuel with 15 points, while McClung and Colvin both reached double figures and combined for 23 points off the bench. The Lions overcame 8-for-30 shooting (26.7 percent) in the first half by shooting 51.6 percent (16-for-31) in the second half.
Wednesday's contest was in direct contrast of the two teams' first meeting 11 days earlier when Mount Olive rallied from a double-figure deficit for the victory. The Trojans came back from 19 points down for a 72-69 victory at Emmanuel in the first meeting.
Mount Olive returns to action Saturday as the Trojans travel to Misenheimer, N.C., to take on Pfeiffer University in a Conference Carolinas contest. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.