Dontrell Brite shared game-high honors with 22 points and Dominique Reed added 19 points as University of Mount Olive held off North Greenville University 91-83 in Conference Carolinas men's basketball Friday at Kornegay Arena. The Trojans have eclipsed the 90-point mark in three consecutive games for the first time in six years.
Mount Olive (12-7 overall, 7-4 Conference Carolinas) led by as many as 14 points in the second half and still held a double-digit lead at 79-66 after Reed's putback with 8:22 left to play. Justin Dotson responded with a three-pointer for North Greenville as the Crusaders scored nine unanswered points to pull within 79-75 with 5:18 remaining.
Brite came back with a three-pointer for Mount Olive and added a pair of free throws with 3:37 left to stretch the margin back to nine points. North Greenville (6-11, 3-7) never got any closer than six points the rest of the way.
In the first half, Mount Olive trailed 26-20 before Dontrell Brite's three-pointer with 8:25 left in the first half capped a 10-2 run to put the Trojans on top for the remainder of the contest. The Trojans took their first double-digit lead of the contest after James Rucker's putback gave Mount Olive a 41-31 advantage with 4:42 left before halftime.
North Greenville got as close as five points in the final 90 seconds after Matt Moore hit a three-pointer for the Crusaders. Mike Moore slammed home a putback for Mount Olive with 20 seconds left and Rucker blocked a Crusader attempt just before the buzzer as the Trojans went into intermission on top 47-40.
The Trojans doubled their halftime lead as Jacque Brown's three-pointer and Rucker's fastbreak layup highlighted a 10-2 run to give Mount Olive its biggest lead at 69-55 with 12:40 left in the contest. North Greenville cut the margin to single digits as Chris Brown hit a three-pointer and the Crusaders converted a pair of second-chance baskets to pull within 73-64 with 10:48 remaining.
Tayon Gleaves added 10 points off the bench for Mount Olive, while Moore and Rucker each finished with nine points. Reed, who entered the contest ranked seventh in the nation in field goal percentage, was 7-for-11 (63.6 percent) from the field Friday. Rucker was a perfect 4-for-4.
Dotson led North Greenville with 22 points, while Tommy Wade added 14 points off the bench on 7-for-10 shooting, including three dunks.
Mount Olive, which has averaged 95.0 points per game in its last three contests, started its scoring streak with a 92-76 win over King January 19, followed by a 102-76 victory over Belmont Abbey Tuesday. The last time the Trojans scored at least 90 points in three straight games was late in the 2009-10 season. Mount Olive defeated Queens 90-68 in the Trojans regular season finale, then posted a 95-75 win over Coker and a 124-103 victory over Pfeiffer in the first two rounds of the Conference Carolinas Tournament.
The Trojans are right back in action Saturday in the first-ever live national telecast in any sport to originate from the University of Mount Olive campus. Mount Olive plays host to Limestone College in a Conference Carolinas contest that will be televised live by American Sports Network and aired on 48 stations covering 30 states (and Puerto Rico) and all four time zones in the lower 48. Tip-off is 6 p.m.
During halftime, University of Mount Olive will host a "Wish Reveal" for Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina. Seven-year-old "Isabella" has been granted her wish for her and her family to go to Hawaii and during the reveal, she'll learn the dates of her trip.
Saturday's contest is also part of the 33rd Annual Mount Olive Basketball Church Night, as well as Coaches vs. Cancer "Suits and Sneakers" Night. Both teams' coaching staffs will wear sneakers with their suits to emphasize the importance of exercise in the fight against cancer.