The University of Mount Olive men’s basketball team pushed past Barton College, 63-53, in the Trojans’ regular-season finale on Friday night in Kornegay Arena in Mount Olive, N.C.
The opening 6:32 featured four ties and four lead changes as the Bulldogs took an 11-9 lead with 13:28 remaining in the opening half. A jumper by Barton with 9:01 left in the half gave the Bulldogs a 15-11 lead. Mount Olive responded with a 10-2 lead, capped off by a pair of free throws by freshman Armon Griebe, that pushed the Trojans ahead 21-17 with just 2:12 left on the clock in the first. The UMO lead reached its largest point in the opening 20 minutes at six, 26-20, with seven seconds left in the half before Barton’s Tashawn Sampson knocked down a three to end the half and cut the Trojans’ advantage to 26-23 at the break.
Out of the half, Barton manufactured a 5-0 run to give the Bulldogs’ a 28-26 lead just 1:24 into the second half. The Trojans pushed back to take a three-point lead at 33-30 as junior Tayon Gleaves buried a three with 16:57 left in the period. Mount Olive saw its lead balloon to five at 42-37 before the Bulldogs stormed back with a 6-0 run to retake the lead at 43-42 with 9:34 remaining to play. Flipping momentum back in the Trojans’ favor, freshman Tyler Thomas intercepted a pass and took it end-to-end and laid it in, absorbing contact and being fouled in the process and knocking down the subsequent free throw to put UMO ahead 45-42 with 9:01 left in the half. UMO saw its lead increase after Gleaves stepped to the charity stripe and hit a pair of free throws following a technical foul on the Bulldogs’ bench that increased the Trojans’ advantage to 47-43 with 7:55 remaining in the game. The Trojans’ lead inflated to 10 at 55-45 as freshman Saiquan Jamison laid it off the glass with 4:57 left to in the second frame. Following Jamison’s layup, UMO finished the final 4:57 without a field goal, but did knock down eight-of-ten free throws down the stretch in the Trojans’ 63-53 victory.
Mount Olive heads north to Wilson, N.C. for a first round matchup with Barton in the Conference Carolinas Men’s Basketball Tournament at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28.
Photos by GDN Photographer Bobby Williams