Trojans Fall In In Close Battle With Lions 75-74

Photo by James Benson
Photo by James Benson

MOUNT OLIVE, North Carolina - The University of Mount Olive men's basketball team fell in a close 75-74 decision to the Lions of Emmanuel College 75-74 in Kornegay Arena on Saturday night in Conference Carolinas men's basketball action. UMO falls to 6-5, 2-3 on the season, while Emmanuel improves to 6-5, 3-0.

The game saw a fast start with a combined 36 three-point attempts for the game with 17 being made. The contest also suffered from a length issue as there were a total of 54 fouls committed by both teams slowing the pace of play dramatically.

The first basket wasn't made until the 18:36 mark when Jonathan Mebane drained a three-point shot that began a trend of UMO and Emmanuel exchange three-point buckets for the next 19 points. Emmanuel eventually stopped the streak with a free-throw at the 15:37 mark and the Trojans held onto a 12-7 cushion. Following a pair of free throws from EC that gave the Lions a 25-23 lead with 4:43 to go in the opening half, Cameron Robinson started a small run for the Trojans. His layup started a streak of 10 unanswered points and the lead exchanged again. The Lions had the final made basket in the first and trailed UMO heading into half time 33-27. Heading into the break both teams were on fire from beyond the arc shooting over 40% (UMO-60%, EC 45.5%).

In the second Emmanuel was able to crack the lead down to five after another made three, but Mount Olive found another key run. Matthias Caver made a layup that began another 10-point spread by the Trojans that gave them their largest lead of the game, 45-30. The Trojan lead began to slip around the 11-minute mark as the Lions went on a streak of eight unanswered points to draw with 56-49 with 9:30 left in the game. The double-digit lead evaporated in the final four minutes as EC went on a 10-0 run to draw with four at 74-70 with 1:37 left in the game. A Trojan layup stopped the run only for a moment as the Lions posted a 5-0 to end the game and take the lead and the win in the final seconds of the contest.

The Trojans were led by Matthias Caver with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Michale Brown also added double-digit points with 12 points.

The Lions had four athletes in double figures but were led by Brandon Simpon with a team-high 17 points.

The key moments of the game came in two runs; a 10-0 run and a 5-0 run in the second period that helped grab the momentum and lead away from UMO that had a 15-point lead.

Mount Olive remains at home in Kornegay Arena as they will host Francis Marion University for Education Day at 12 p.m. UMO and Francis Marion will meet on Tuesday, Dec. 17, at 12 PM in a southeast regional contest.