No. 24 Mount Olive Holds Off Southern Wesleyan 82-68

Dominique Reed scored 18 points on 8-for-9 shooting, while Emmanuel Patton and Tayon Cleaves combined for 19 points off the bench as nationally 24th-ranked University of Mount Olive defeated Southern Wesleyan University 82-68 in Conference Carolinas men's basketball Wednesday at Kornegay Arena. The win improved the Trojans to 8-0 at home this season.

Mount Olive (13-2 overall, 6-1 Conference Carolinas) led by as many as 20 points in the first half, but saw its lead cut to single digits early in the second half after a pair of baskets by Buster Walker pulled Southern Wesleyan within 42-33 with 18:51 left to play. Reed answered with a pair of tip-ins and eight points overall in a 14-3 run as the Trojans pushed the lead back to 20. Patton scored the final four points in the run to give Mount Olive a 56-36 advantage with 15:36 left to play.

 Southern Wesleyan (3-10, 3-3) never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way as Mount Olive used three dunks by Kendall Hargrove – including a one-handed windmill dunk on a fast break – to thwart Warrior rallies. All three dunks were on assists by Jordan McCain.

In the first half, JaQuan Blount's three-pointer gave Mount Olive a 5-3 lead and the Trojans led for the remainder of the contest. Dontrell Brite scored the final four points of a 7-0 run that pushed the Trojans' lead to double figures at 23-10 with 9:52 remaining. Southern Wesleyan drew within single digits after Dwayne Bryant's three-point play, but Mount Olive held the Warriors without a field goal over the next three-plus minutes to take its biggest lead of the half.

Gleaves provided a spark off the bench for Mount Olive with an assist, a steal and back-to-back three-pointers during a 12-1 run that gave the Trojans a 35-15 advantage with 6:40 remaining. After the two teams exchanged baskets, it was Mount Olive's turn to go cold as the Trojans managed only a free throw over the next five minutes.

Kenny Holmes helped trigger a Southern Wesleyan run with an 18-foot bounce pass that led to a Cameron Solomon dunk and a three-pointer of his own as the Warriors pulled within 38-26 with 1:54 left before halftime. Reed scored Mount Olive's last four points, preventing turnovers by converting a pair of errant alley-oop attempts into points, as the Trojans went into the locker room with a 42-29 lead at the break.

Mount Olive shot 56.7 percent (17-for-30) from the floor in the first half and finished 34-for-64 (53.1 percent) for the game.

Hargrove finished with 11 points and nine rebounds, while Patton scored a career-high 10 points for the Trojans. Gleaves, who scored a career-high 17 points against Lees-McRae one game ago, finished with nine points, while Brite added eight points and a game-high eight assists. Reed hit each of his first eight shot attempts.

Solomon led all scorers with 20 points for Southern Wesleyan, while Holmes added 17 points. Bryant pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for the Warriors.

Mount Olive returns to action Saturday as the Trojans play host to Pfeiffer in a Conference Carolinas rematch. The Trojans won the first meeting 96-58 November 19 at Misenheimer, N.C. Tip-off is 4 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.