03/03/12 — Hayes spearheads Trojans' road upset of King

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Hayes spearheads Trojans' road upset of King

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on March 3, 2012 11:07 PM

MOC Sports Information

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Craig Hayes torched the nets for 18 of his game-high 29 points in the second half, and drained two key free throws with 25 seconds remaining in Mount Olive's 78-74 upset of King College in semifinal-round play of the 2012 Conference Carolinas men's basketball tournament Friday evening.

The Trojans, the East Division runners-up, entertain archrival Barton in today's championship game. Tip-off is 2 p.m. at Kornegay Arena and the winner automatically qualifies for the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional.

MOC won league titles in 2008 and 2010.

Hayes, who was named the Conference Carolinas player-of-the-year, shot 12 of 17 from the field and snared a game-high eight rebounds. Jordan McCain contributed 11 points and six rebounds, while All-Conference Carolinas selection Derek Staton provided 10 points and five assists.

The Trojans shot 30 of 59 (50.8 percent) from the field and limited the Tornado to 39.7-percent shooting.

King, which won the West Division, trailed by 13 at halftime and trimmed the deficit to single digits early in the second half. Mahamed Ibrahim and Jordan McCain connected on back-to-back 3-pointers, which extended the Trojans' lead to 47-32 with 17:54 to go.

Hayes' conventional three-point play gave MOC its biggest lead, 54-37, nearly 3 1/2 minutes later. Brian Hewitt knocked down a pair of 3-pointers of his own to keep the Tornado (23-5) within striking distance.

But Hayes was in the middle of scoring 10 consecutive points for the Trojans. His final basket, a layup, provided a 61-48 margin with just under 10 minutes remaining in the contest.

King benefited from a three-minute scoring drought by MOC, and shaved the double-digit deficit to 61-55. The teams traded short scoring bursts before the Tornado, ranked No. 5 in the latest Southeast Region poll, closed to within 75-74 with 65 seconds to go.

After a Trojan timeout, Mount Olive ran the clock down to 27 seconds and missed a field goal attempt. But Hayes pulled down the offensive board, drew a foul and swished both free throws. Staton iced the game with a free throw after the Tornado missed a game-tying 3-point attempt.

Mount Olive and Barton split their regular-season series and the Trojans have prevailed in 25 of 49 meetings since the mid-1990s.