Jordan McCain hit four free throws in the final 15 seconds to secure an 84-75 win for the No. 4 seed University of Mount Olive over No. 5 seed GRU Augusta in the opening round of the 2015 NCAA Southeast Regional tournament Saturday night. McCain went 11-for-11 from the free throw line.
Mount Olive surrendered the first points of the game as a three-pointer by Keshun Sherrill put the Jaguars on the board. Kendall Hargrove did not allow GRU Augusta get too comfortable as he put Mount Olive's (29-3) first points on the board. The Jaguars pushed the lead out to six but the Trojans climbed back.
Tayon Gleaves tied the game with two free throws at the 11:40 mark. Jaquan Blount was hacked heading towards the rim and with two more made free throws gave the Trojans their first lead of the game 19-17. Sherrill gave the lead right back to GRU Augusta (23-7) with a made three-pointer and added another as he was fouled on the shot and the Jaguars went up 21-19 with under ten and a half to play.
Dontrell Brite picked the pocket of a Jaguar and made a transition three-pointer to give the Trojans the lead once again at 22-21 with 9:19 left. After GRU Augusta took the lead, McCain made two free throws to tie the score 24-24. The Jaguars went up by four; however Gleaves drained a three-pointer to bring the score to 28-27. D'angelo Boyce traded baskets with Gleaves to put the lead back to four with 6:41.
Boyce hit another three to made the lead six 33-27. Brite responded and drained a three with 5:50 left to cut the lead in half. The three's continued to fall for the Jaguars as they were 6-of-9 for the first 16:30 of the first half. Boyce hit his second long range shot and moved the lead back to six 36-32 with 4:22.
Brite made a layup with 3:54 as the deficit went to four. McCain was hacked after he grabbed an offensive rebound and drew the foul on the putback. Two good free throws by McCain put the Trojans to within two. James Rucker tied the game thirty seconds later as he was fouled and knocked down two free throws and the score was knotted up at 40.
McCain hit two more free throws as the Trojans continued to pound the paint and Mount Olive had the lead 42-40 with :29 before half. Michael Graham for GRU Augusta tied the game as he grabbed a rebound and was able to get his put-back to fall just before the horn and the game went into the half tied at 42.
To start the second half back-to-back three-pointers in the first minute by Blount and Mike Moore gave Mount Olive the lead 48-44. Vlad Cobzaru stopped what seemed to be an early run by Mount Olive with a made jumper. McCain pushed it back to four with a lay-up at 17:51. Mount Olive held the lead at four until a made jumper by Devon Wright-Nelson tied the game at 52 with 15:25 left.
Dominique Reed gave the Trojans the lead back with a tough double team shot in the paint. After the game was tied, McCain on a baseline in bound play made a three-point play with 14:21 to push Mount Olive ahead 57-54. Brite used a nifty spin around move to sink a jumper and give the Trojans their largest lead of the game at that point 59-54 with 13:46.
The Jaguars cut the lead to one but Reed made a lay-up to hold Mount Olive's lead at 61-58. Good ball movement allowed Blount to get open in the corner for a three and the Trojans went up 66-60 with 9:39.
Hargrove found Reed with a lob pass to move the lead to 70-65 with over eight minutes to play. Blount hit his third three-pointer with 6:22 left and Mount Olive had a four point lead 73-69. The Trojan's lead went up to eight after a made jumper by McCain and a dunk by Hargrove with 2:29 left in regulation. Sherrill made the game 77-71 with two points for GRU Augusta.
Blount used a screen from Moore at the top of the key and drilled a fade-away three with 1:20 left to give Mount Olive an 80-71 lead.
With 15.7 seconds left in the game, GRU Augusta started to foul. McCain knocked down four free throws to secure the Mount Olive win.
The win ties the school record for most wins in a season. Mount Olive had 29 wins in the 2004-2005 season, the year the Trojans went to the Elite Eight.
Mount Olive will play the No.1 seed and tournament host Lincoln Memorial University at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The last time UMO faced LMU was December 30, 2006, at UNC Pembroke. The Trojans won 78-63.