11/21/10 — Trojan men rally past Mars Hill

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Trojan men rally past Mars Hill

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on November 21, 2010 1:51 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive continues to grow up game-by-game with its feet to the fire and its heart on its sleeve.

The Trojans overcame a double-digit deficit to win for the second consecutive night in an 84-80 victory over Mars Hill on day two of the 45th annual Pickle Classic.

Mount Olive erased a 10-point deficit to defeat North Georgia 61-59 on Friday night.

"We've still got a ways to go but it's good to grow up and win," said Trojans' head coach Joey Higginbotham. "Our guys fought. I was proud of them."

Freshman Dory Hines' layup with 38 seconds left gave Mount Olive the lead for good at 81-80 against Mars Hill. He finished with 12 points.

"Coach called a play and he said if it didn't work to run 'one' with a ball screen up top if their big man doesn't show," said Hines. "I jump stopped like I've been doing in practice and I was able to finish."

Mars Hill's Dion Malachi missed two free throws with 27 seconds to play that would have given the Lions the lead.

Deshaune Green's free throws with 24 seconds left extended Mount Olive's lead to 83-80. Donterious Hughes' potential game-tying 3-pointer was off the mark.

Sammy Emile's 3-point play pushed Mars Hill's lead to 51-41 fewer than four minutes into the second half.

The Trojans scored six unanswered points and Brandon Allen's 4-point play cut the margin to 53-52 with 14:27 to play in the second half. Allen finished with 22 points and Staton added 20. Both Allen and Staton were named to the all-tournament team.

The margin swelled to 64-58 midway through the second half before Derek Staton's jump shot tied the game at 70-70 with fewer than five minutes to play.

Hughes, who scored 22 points, pushed the Lions ahead 80-79 on a layup with 61 seconds left.

The Lions (2-2 overall) feasted on defensive stops and Trojans' turnovers early in the ballgame. Tarron Stewart's layup gave Mars Hill a 17-5 lead a little more than five minutes into the first half.

Mount Olive committed 10 first-half turnovers and was out-rebounded 16-11.

Allen hit 3's on back-to-back possessions to pull the Trojans to within 23-17 more than midway through the first half. The Trojans closed the first half on a 7-2 run and trailed 40-34 at the break.

Staton led Mount Olive with 10 first-half points.

"They confused us in the first half with that little zone," said Higginbotham. "We made some adjustments at the half. This was a grind-it-out win against a good ball club. I'm proud of the toughness we showed this week. We could easily be sitting here 0-3."

The Trojans improved to 21-1 in the last 11 Pickle Classics

Mount Olive (3-0) returns to action Nov. 30 at archrival Barton College.