Kendall Hargrove recorded a double-double and led all five University of Mount Olive starters in double figures with a game-high 23 points on 8-for-10 shooting as the nationally 10th-ranked Trojans finished regular season play on a 15-game winning streak with a 79-68 victory over Barton in Conference Carolinas men's basketball Tuesday at Wilson, N.C. JaQuan Blount and Dontrell Brite combined to score Mount Olive's last 11 points in the final 63 seconds to help the Trojans pull away from a late one-point lead.
Mount Olive (26-2 overall, 19-1 Conference Carolinas) trailed 56-54 before Hargrove's dunk with 7:13 left to play forged the final tie of the night. Jordan McCain hit two free throws with 5:30 remaining to put the Trojans ahead to stay.
The Trojans built the lead to four before Barton (13-15, 9-11) pulled within 60-59 on Danny Shand's three-pointer with 4:49 remaining. Mount Olive held the Bulldogs to one field goal over the next four minutes to pull away.
Baskets by Hargrove and McCain extended Mount Olive's advantage to 68-62 with 1:27 left and the Trojans maintained at least a two-possession lead the rest of the way. Blount hit 1-of-2 free throws with 1:03 remaining and added a layup after a defensive stop to give Mount Olive a nine-point lead.
Barton answered with a three-pointer by Jake Veasley, but Brite converted 6-of-6 free throws in a span of just seven seconds to give Mount Olive a 77-68 advantage with 27 seconds remaining. Blount's dunk just before the buzzer gave the Trojans their only double-digit lead of the game.
In the first half, Mount Olive led 11-5 after Dominique Reed's dunk with 15:55 remaining. Barton came back with eight unanswered points as Shand hit a pair of free throws with 12:37 left to break an 11-11 tie and give the Bulldogs their first lead of the game.
The next nine minutes saw three ties and 10 lead changes before Hargrove's layup with 3:20 left gave Mount Olive a 28-27 lead and put the Trojans on top for the remainder of the half. The Trojans went up by four points on John Wieland's three-pointer with 33 seconds remaining, but D.J. Carnegie's three-pointer with three seconds left cut Mount Olive's lead to 35-34 at the half.
The Trojans continued to lead throughout the second half as Hargrove's two free throws made the score 52-46 with 10:35 left in the contest. Shand and Dominique Byrd combined for all of the points in a 7-0 run to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the second half at 53-52 with 9:09 remaining. After a Hargrove layup put Mount Olive back on top, Barton grabbed its final lead of the night on a three-pointer by Veasley.
Brite scored 18 points for the Trojans, Blount finished with 12 points and McCain and Reed added 10 points apiece. Hargrove pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds, while Blount, Brite and McCain each dished out four assists.
Shand (17 points) and Byrd (15 points) combined for 32 points off the bench for Barton.
Top-seeded Mount Olive opens play Saturday in the 2015 Conference Carolinas Men's Basketball Tournament as the Trojans play host to No. 8 seed Erskine. The Trojans swept Erskine in the regular season series. Tip-off is 4 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.