JaQuan Blount's Three-Pointer Lifts No. 16 Trojans Past Lees-McRae 85-82 In OT

JaQuan Blount's Three-Pointer Lifts No. 16 Trojans Past Lees-McRae 85-82 In OT

JaQuan Blount hit the game-winning three-pointer with 4.1 seconds left in overtime as nationally 16th-ranked University of Mount Olive held off Lees-McRae College 85-82 in Conference Carolinas men's basketball Saturday at Kornegay Arena. The lead changed hands four times in the overtime period.

Mount Olive (18-2 overall, 11-1 Conference Carolinas) had a chance to win in regulation, but Dontrell Brite's three-point attempt rimmed out at the buzzer. The Trojans trailed by as many as eight points in the first half and never led by more than five points during the game.

Lees-McRae (10-9, 5-7) took the first lead of the overtime after Raul Tutton's three-pointer with 4:18 remaining put the Bobcats up 76-73. Baskets by Jordan McCain and Kendall Hargrove put Mount Olive back on top, but Sean Deniton answered with a three for Lees-McRae to give the Bobcats a 79-77 lead with 3:06 left in overtime.

After Brite put the Trojans back on top with a three-pointer, Cameron Redd hit 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game 80-80 with 2:02 remaining.

Mount Olive regained the lead on its next possession as Hargrove found McCain just inside the free throw line and McCain drove in for a layup to put the Trojans up 82-80 with 1:40 left. McCain and Brite helped Mount Olive defensively by drawing charging fouls, but a Trojan turnover in the final minute gave the Bobcats a chance to tie the game.

Lees-McRae called timeout with 39 seconds left in OT and 19 seconds left on the shot clock. Kendall Isler dished to Jacqueise Moore, whose layup tied the game 82-82 with one second left to shoot. Mount Olive inbounded the ball and called timeout after crossing midcourt with exactly 15.0 seconds left.

The Trojans moved the ball around the perimeter until Brite passed from the top of the key to Blount in the left corner. Blount, who already had a pair of three-pointers on the day, hit nothing but net to put the Trojans on top.

After calling timeout, Lees-McRae drove the length of the court and had an open look at a three, but the ball bounced off the rim just before the buzzer sounded. The overtime game was Mount Olive's first of the season.

Mount Olive trailed by three at halftime and never led by more than one possession until McCain's three-point play with 7:56 left in regulation gave the Trojans a 67-62 lead. Darius Malbon connected on a three-pointer on Lees-McRae's ensuing possession and the Bobcats went back on top 73-71 after Isler sank a pair of free throws with 2:44 remaining.

The Trojans tied the game 73-73 on their next possession after McCain chased down his own offensive rebound and put in a layup with 2:12 left in regulation. Neither team was able to score on its next possession as Dominique Reed blocked a Lees-McRae shot, but Mount Olive turned the ball over in the final minute.

Each team had a shot at a game winner in the final six seconds, but both the Trojans and Bobcats came up empty to send the game into overtime.

In the first half, Hargrove's uncontested slam dunk provided the first points of the game, but Lees-McRae came back with 10 unanswered points and led the majority of the half. Mount Olive regained the lead after Blount tapped a defensive rebound to Hargrove for a fast break layup and Reed converted a pair of three-point plays to put the Trojans up 26-24 with 6:25 left before halftime.

Lees-McRae came back with a 5-0 run on Isler's dunk and Tutton's three-pointer to go back on top. Blount's three-pointer tied the game and McCain hit a three with 1:12 remaining to give Mount Olive a 36-33 lead. The Trojans would not score again the remainder of the half as Deniton's 15-footer trickled in at the buzzer to cap a 6-0 run and give Lees-McRae a 39-36 halftime lead.

Reed led Mount Olive with game highs of 24 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots. Reed, who was 10-of-12 from the field, matched a career-high scoring total, coincidentally last season against Lees-McRae. McCain finished with 23 points, seven assists and six rebounds, while Blount scored 15 points. Hargrove added 11 points and six assists, while Brite dished out a game-high seven assists.

Tutton led Lees-McRae with 19 points off the bench for the Bobcats. Deniton added 16 points, while Moore finished 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

Mount Olive's win came less than 24 hours after moving into a tie for first place and handing conference co-leader King its first loss in conference play.

Mount Olive returns to action Wednesday as the Trojans travel to Gaffney, S.C., to take on Limestone in a Conference Carolinas match-up. The Trojans defeated the Saints 79-59 in the first meeting November 25 at Kornegay Arena. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.