January 9, 2011

Trojans rally, hold off Bobcats, 85-77

Box score

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Mount Olive College men's basketball team shot a blistering 64 percent from the field in the second half en route to an 85-77 come-from-behind victory over Lees-McRae College on Sunday afternoon in Conference Carolinas action.

Mount Olive (7-5, 2-2 CC) edged the Bobcats (3-8, 0-4 CC) by a 35-34 margin on the glass, including a 12-10 advantage on the offensive boards, while outscoring LMC by a 17-9 spread in second chance points. Both teams shot well from the field and the free throw line, as Mount Olive posted a 45.6 percent clip from the floor after knocking down 16-of-25 field goal attempts in the second half.

Lees-McRae connected on 43.6 percent of its attempts on the afternoon, including 44.4 percent of its shots from beyond the arc. Each team converted at least 80 percent of its attempts at the free throw line, as Mount Olive posted an 81.3 percent mark from the stripe while Lees-McRae connected on 84 percent of its chances at the line.

The Bobcats placed five players in double figures for the first time this season, led by senior Adam McFerran (Stow, Ohio), who poured in 20 points and went a perfect 5-for-5 at the free throw line. Dairl Scott, Jr. (Pfafftown, N.C.) and Daniel Sepokas (Illawong, Australia) joined McFerran in double figures with 14 and 13 points, respectively, while Sam Youse (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and Tevin Friday (Gastonia, N.C.) each tallied 10 markers.

Scott also paced the Bobcats with a contest-best eight rebounds, while tying DeAndre Tillman (Charlotte, N.C.) for the game-high with two blocked shots. Reshon Benjamin (Valdosta, Ga.) dished out a game-high six assists, while Tillman recorded a contest-best three steals.

Mount Olive also placed five players in double figures, and was paced by Ewon Wright's (Fayetteville, N.C.) game-high 23 points, as the freshman knocked down 5-of-10 attempts from downtown and went 6-for-8 at the charity stripe. Dory Hines (Kinston, N.C.) joined Wright in double figures with 16 points, connecting on 6-of-8 attempts from the field while grabbing a game-high eight rebounds. Brandon Allen (Woodbridge, Va.) and Derek Stanton (Norfolk, Va.) each recorded 15 points on the day, while Mahamed Ibrahim (Annandale, Va.) chipped in 10 markers.

The Trojans opened the first half strong, taking an early 9-5 lead on a Hines layup at the 15:47 mark before the Bobcats responded, launching a 13-2 run to claim an 18-11 advantage on a jumper by Friday with 9:19 to play in the period.

Mount Olive would trim the margin to 20-19 on a pair of Staton free throws at the 7:22 mark before Lees-McRae answered once again, pushing the lead to 33-23 with a 13-4 spurt that was capped by a Tillman free throw with 3:28 left on the clock. Mount Olive would close out the first half on a strong note, outscoring the Bobcats by a 6-2 margin over the final three minutes to cut the lead to 37-31 at the intermission.

Lees-McRae maintained the lead in the early moments of the second half, stretching the advantage to 42-33 on a Scott layup with 18:44 to play. Mount Olive would stay with striking distance for much of the next six minutes until the Trojans caught fire, launching a 7-0 run to take a 60-58 lead on a layup by Aleks Mitrovic (Montreal, Ontario, Canada) at the 9:33 mark.

The Bobcats would quickly even the score on a pair of McFerran free throws before Mount Olive took control, launching a 14-6 run over the next three minutes to take a 74-66 lead on a Wright triple with 4:11 to play. Mount Olive continued its hot shooting over the next several possessions, opening an 81-72 lead on a Wright layup with just over a minute and a half to go.

Stanton would convert a pair of free throws with 33 seconds left to give Mount Olive its largest lead of the game at 83-72 before the Bobcats began to rally, forcing two turnovers on back-to-back inbound plays and cutting the lead to 83-77 on a Sepokas triple with 20 ticks remaining. Mount Olive would regain control from there, converting a pair of last-second free throws to equal the final margin of 85-77.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Monday when the Bobcats travel to Gaffney, S.C. to take on conference-leading Limestone College (10-2, 5-0 CC) in a pivotal league battle. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. in the Timkin Center.

- LMC -