Jamaal Matin's three-pointer two minutes into overtime broke a 71-71 tie and put University of Mount Olive ahead to stay as the fourth-seeded Trojans outlasted No. 5 seed Pfeiffer University 87-78 in the quarterfinal round of the 2016 Conference Carolinas Men's Basketball Tournament Tuesday at Kornegay Arena. JaQuan Blount led six Trojans in double figures with 22 points and notched a double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds.
With the win, the Trojans advance to the semifinal round against top-seeded King University, a 71-56 winner over No. 8 seed and defending champion North Greenville University Tuesday. As the top seed, King will play host to the semifinal round and Championship Game.
The final three minutes of regulation turned into a battle of free throws as Dominique Reed and Blount both went 2-for-2 from the line to give Mount Olive (17-12) a 71-70 lead with 2:16 remaining. The Trojans were held scoreless for the rest of the second half, but Pfeiffer (14-15) managed only a 1-for-2 trip by Xavier Evans to tie the game with 1:03 remaining.
The Trojans missed a three-point attempt as the shot clock expired with 32 seconds left and Pfeiffer called timeout with 21 seconds remaining. A scramble for a loose ball resulted in a Mount Olive foul with 0.4 seconds left. But the Falcons missed both free throws and the two teams headed into overtime.
Mount Olive and Pfeiffer both went 0-for-3 from the field to start the overtime period as the Falcons' Mackly Bien-Aime blocked two Trojan shots. The Trojans finally broke through when Mike Moore found Matin, who drained a three from the right corner with 3:10 left to play.
Matin blocked a shot on Pfeiffer's next possession and Blount pulled down the rebound. As Blount was falling back towards the baseline, he sent an outlet pass to Moore, who streaked past a defender for a layup to give Mount Olive a 76-71 lead with 2:28 remaining. The Trojans maintained a two-possession advantage for the remainder of the contest.
Moore converted a three-point play with 1:50 remaining and the Trojans hit 8-of-10 free throws in the final 52 seconds to seal the win.
Mount Olive trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half, but rallied to take its first lead since late in the first half after Dontrell Brite's two free throws capped an 8-2 run that put the Trojans on top 62-61 with 6:17 left in regulation. Pfeiffer (14-15) regained the lead, but the Trojans came back from a pair of three-point deficits.
In the first half, Tayon Gleaves' three-pointer at the midway point pulled Mount Olive within a field goal, but Mike Smith answered with a three-pointer for Pfeiffer and Josh Calhoun's layup capped a 7-0 run to give the Falcons their biggest lead of the half at 25-16 with 7:06 remaining. The Trojans were down eight when three-pointers by Matin and Blount highlighted a 10-0 run and put Mount Olive back on top 29-27 with 2:55 left before halftime.
Calhoun answered with a three-pointer for Pfeiffer and the Falcons led the remainder of the half. Mount Olive was limited to a single free throw over the final two minutes and trailed 35-30 at halftime.
Tuesday's win Mount Olive's first win over Pfeiffer this year after the Falcons swept the regular season series.
Gleaves finished with 14 points off the bench for Mount Olive, while Moore scored 13 points and Reed, Brite and Matin added 11 points apiece. Blount and Brite each dished out four assists and Matin led all players with four steals.
Mount Olive was a season-high 35-for-43 (81.4 percent) from the free throw line, while Pfeiffer went 23-for-34 (67.6 percent). The two teams combined for 53 fouls and both teams had three players foul out.
Smith led all players with 23 points off the bench for Pfeiffer, while Andrew Guerrero added 20 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Calhoun finished with 16 points and dished out a game-high seven assists.
In Tuesday's other quarterfinal-round contests, second-seeded Barton defeated No. 7 seed Erskine 83-68, while No. 6 seed Limestone pulled off the lone upset of either the men's or women's tournaments with a 75-74 win at third-seeded Lees-McRae. Barton will face Limestone in the other semifinal.
The semifinals will take place Saturday at 2 and 4 p.m. at Bristol, Tenn., but it has not yet been announced if Mount Olive will play in the early game or late game. Saturday's winners advance to the Championship Game Sunday at 2 p.m. The tournament champion earns an automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional.
Mount Olive and King split their regular season series, each winning at home. The Trojans won 92-76 at Kornegay Arena and the Tornado won 85-50 at Bristol.
Saturday's semifinal marks only the second meeting between the two teams in the conference tournament. The Trojans won 78-74 at King in the semifinal round of the 2012 tournament.