03/02/13 — Trojans' comeback falls short

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Trojans' comeback falls short

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 2, 2013 11:22 PM


WILSON -- Mount Olive threw a scare into its rivals from Barton, trimming a 19-point, second half deficit to one in the closing minutes, but the Bulldogs made all six free throws in the final 43 seconds to stave off the Trojans 78-70 in Conference Carolinas men's basketball Friday night.

The loss sends the Trojans (14-12 overall, 11-9 CC) on the road to face Limestone for the first round of the conference tournament beginning Monday night at 7 p.m.

The Trojans finish in a tie for sixth with Erskine, but settle for the seventh seed because Erskine swept the Trojans during the regular season.

Against Barton, the Trojans were all but dead in the water after the Bulldogs (20-6, 15-5) opened the second half with a 15-7 to give Barton a 51-32 lead with 14:44 left.

Mount Olive was still down 19 almost two minutes later when the Trojans came alive. After cold shooting from the field and the free throw line allowed Barton to build its lead, the Trojans suddenly found their touch. Mahamed Ibrahim made a short jumper. Then Ewon Wright followed with a layup. Slowly Barton's lead began to disappear.

Caleb Henderson provided a spark off the bench, converting back-to-back lay-ups to cut the lead to 55-44 with 9:14 remaining. Henderson was able to find his way for easy baskets thanks to a heightened state of urgency from the Mount Olive defense.

Chris Flemings gave the Bulldogs a 17-poin t lead with a tip-in with 10:46 remaining. On the next five Barton possessions, the Trojans forced two missed shots and three turnovers leading directly to points.

Ibrahim provided an additional spark he delivered the team's first three-pointer of the contest with 6:26 remaining to make it a 67-61 game. Up until that point, the Trojans had missed their previous 11 attempts from behind the arc.

After exchanging baskets for a couple of minutes, the Trojans inched closer again. Again, Mount Olive's defense was the difference, forcing Barton into three consecutive turnovers. Jordan McCain scored a pair of turnovers, the second of which made it 59-58 with 4:09 left.

Barton's answer to the Trojans' run was Gerald Boston. Boston converted all 15 of his attempts from the free throw line, including all nine in the final four minutes. The free throw line was the Trojans' biggest enemy. Mount Olive made just 10-of-21, missing several down the stretch.

Several times in the final two minutes the Trojans got back within one possession. Henderson's first three-pointer of the season that closed the gap back to one with 2:19 remaining.

Kendall Hargrove paced the Trojans with 15 points and eight rebounds. Ibrahim added 14 points and Deshaune Green just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.