First-Half Dunkfest, Second-Half Three-Point Shooting Lifts Trojans Past Belmont Abbey 92-79

First-Half Dunkfest, Second-Half Three-Point Shooting Lifts Trojans Past Belmont Abbey 92-79

Dunks by Kendall Hargrove, Dontrell Brite and Dory Hines in a span of 64 seconds capped a 17-1 run midway through the first half and University of Mount Olive went on to defeat Belmont Abbey College 92-79 in Conference Carolinas men's basketball Saturday at Kornegay Arena. Brite led six Trojans in double figures with 19 points as Mount Olive built a 25-point second-half lead and withstood a series of Crusader three-pointers in the final 90 seconds of the contest.

Mount Olive (9-7 overall, 3-3 Conference Carolinas) broke away from a 12-10 lead as the Trojans held Belmont Abbey (6-10, 2-4) to a single free throw over a six-minute stretch. Five different Trojans connected on field goals to stretch Mount Olive's lead to double figures at 23-11 with 9:23 left before halftime.

The Trojans' "dunkfest" started with 8:07 remaining when John Wieland found Hargrove all alone under the basket for a two-handed slam dunk. After the teams exchanged defensive stops, the 5-foot-9 Brite made a steal in the backcourt and finished with a one-handed dunk. Hines then followed with a steal and went the length of the court for an uncontested dunk to extend the Trojans' lead to 29-11 with 7:03 left.

The margin reached the 20-point mark for the first time when Ewon Wright's three-pointer with 2:42 remaining gave Mount Olive a 38-18 advantage. The lead grew to 22 after a steal and layup by Brite before Belmont Abbey's Chris Davis scored the final six points of the half to pull the Crusaders within 40-24 at halftime.

Belmont Abbey continued to close within striking range early in the second half as Daryl Durham's three-point play and a pair of three-pointers by Ryan Conrad cut Mount Olive's lead to 49-37 with 15:28 left in the contest. The Trojans thwarted the rally as Wieland and Jordan McCain each hit a pair of three-pointers and Mount Olive took its biggest lead of the game at 67-42 with 9:58 remaining.

Brite hit 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute and Mount Olive held an 18-point lead with 37 seconds left. Davis and Conrad each hit a three-pointer in the final 26 seconds of the contest.

The Trojans went 6-for-9 from three-point range in the second half after hitting only one three-pointer in the first half. Mount Olive was 17-for-31 (54.8 percent) from the field in the second half and 51.5 percent for the game. The win snapped the Trojans' three-game losing skid.

Brite went 9-for-10 from the free throw line and also recorded six assists and six steals. McCain finished with 16 points, Wright and Dominique Reed scored 13 points apiece, Hines added 12 points and Hargrove narrowly missed a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds. Hines and Reed each pulled down seven boards as the Trojans outrebounded the Crusaders 39-29.

Davis led Belmont Abbey with game highs of 30 points and 10 rebounds, scoring 19 points in the second half. Drexler Clark added 11 points, while Conrad finished with nine points and a game-high eight assists.

Mount Olive returns to action Wednesday as the Trojans play host to Lees-McRae in a Conference Carolinas match-up. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.