JaQuan Blount's Late-Game Heroics Help Preserve No. 6 Trojans' 70-59 Win Over Chowan

JaQuan Blount's Late-Game Heroics Help Preserve No. 6 Trojans' 70-59 Win Over Chowan

Playing with four fouls, JaQuan Blount made a putback dunk, a steal and two free throws in a span of 13 seconds during the final two minutes to help nationally sixth-ranked University of Mount Olive thwart a second-half rally on its way to a 70-59 victory over Chowan in non-conference men's basketball Saturday at Kornegay Arena. The Trojans saw a 17-point lead cut to three before holding on to improve on its best start in school history.

Dominique Reed led all scorers with 21 points for Mount Olive, while Mike Moore scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half. Kendall Hargrove recorded a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Mount Olive (11-1) led by 15 at halftime and built the lead to 45-28 after a steal and fastbreak dunk by Dontrell Brite with 17:43 left in the contest. Chowan (6-3) used an 11-0 run to close the gap to single digits as Michael Adams hit a three-pointer and Hank Edmonds and Kyree Bethel both converted three-point plays to pull within 45-39 with 15:21 remaining.

Chowan made it a one-possession game after Bethel's three-pointer pulled the Hawks within 47-44 with 12:36 left to play. Reed answered with a pair of free throws and John Wieland's three-pointer with 8:06 remaining pushed the lead back to double digits at 56-46.

After Chowan cut the margin back to single digits, Reed converted a three-point play with 5:31 remaining to extend Mount Olive's lead to 61-51. The Trojans then went scoreless for nearly three minutes as the Hawks made one last push.

Josh Mellette drove the lane for a layup and Bethel hit another three for Chowan as the Hawks cut Mount Olive's lead in half at 61-56 with 3:18 remaining. That would be as close as Chowan would get.

Moore hit a layup for Mount Olive off of a dish by Blount from the right baseline. After a defensive stop, the Trojans missed a three-point attempt, but Blount drove the lane and skyed for a two-handed slam dunk. On Chowan's next possession, Blount went to the floor for a loose ball and hit both free throws after drawing a foul to extend the Trojans' lead to 67-56 with 1:34 remaining. Mount Olive maintained at least a three-possession lead for the final 94 seconds.

In the first half, Reed's layup less than two minutes into the contest put Mount Olive ahead to stay and Moore hit a pair of three-pointers to contribute to a 13-2 run that gave the Trojans a 17-7 lead with 15:06 left. Chowan got as close as four points after Kortez Smith's jumper with 11:07 remaining pulled the Hawks within 19-15.

A floater by Brite and a layup by Moore off of a Brite steal triggered an 11-0 run to give Mount Olive its biggest lead of the half at 34-17 with 2:59 remaining. Mark Anthony Buright's three-pointer with 2:27 left before halftime ended a near seven-minute drought for Chowan. Wieland hit a three-pointer for Mount Olive with 55 seconds left and the Trojans went into the locker room with a 39-24 lead at the break.

Reed and Moore accounted for 21 of Mount Olive's first 27 points of the contest and combined with Hargrove to score 30 of the Trojans' 39 first-half points.

Reed was 8-for-13 from the field and came within one rebound of a double-double. Brite, who also played the latter part of the second half with four fouls, dished out six assists and recorded five steals.

Bethel and Edmonds led Chowan with 14 points apiece. Tiron Brown dished out a game-high seven assists for the Hawks.

Mount Olive's previous best 12-game record was 10-2 in 2004-05. The Trojans went on to win the NCAA II East Regional and advance to the Elite Eight that year.

Saturday's contest was Mount Olive's last until after the first of the year. Mount Olive returns to action January 3 as the Trojans travel to Bristol, Tenn., to take on King University in a Conference Carolinas game that will be nationally televised. The contest will air on CBS Sports Network as the Division II Game of the Week. Game time is noon.