ETTRICK, VA. — The University of Mount Olive men’s basketball team fell to the Trojans of Virginia State University 72-65 on Wednesday afternoon in nonconference road action in Ettrick, Va. UMO was led by Jamaal Matin with 21 points in the loss.
Virginia State got on the scoreboard first with two quick three-pointers that saw the home team take a 6-0 lead as the clock ticked under 18 minutes.
Jamaal Matin connected on a long two-point jumper from the top of the key putting UMO on the scoreboard. Don Pigford followed with a basket 40-seconds later (16:52) to pull UMO within two-points, 6-4.
VSU went on a 10-2 run taking a 16-6 lead with the clock ticked under the 14-minute mark.
Mount Olive countered with a 9-0 run of their own to pull within a point, 16-15 after Matin knocked down back-to-back three-pointers.
VSU took a three-point lead following a jumper, but a 7-2 run by the Trojans capped off by a Pigford dunk put Mount Olive 22-18 at the 9:50 mark.
A Darius Spragley three-pointer put UMO ahead 25-21 around the seven-minute mark, but VSU closed out the half on a 10-0 run taking a 31-25 lead into halftime.
Virginia State took a 17-point lead following a steal by the Trojans who led 45-28 forcing Mount Olive to call a timeout to regroup. VSU opened the second half with a 14-3 scoring run heading into the timeout.
Matin buried a three-point bucket to close the VSU lead to 14 points, 45-31, at the 14:30 mark.
Cameron Robinson hit another three off the assist from Michael Brown closing the gap to 11 with the clock at 14 minutes even.
The Virginia State lead opened back up to 16 points, 50-34 following a long three by Wiggins.
Mount Olive cut at the VSU lead with a three from Spragley and a lay-up by Brown that put the score at 50-39 at 11:53.
VSU grew their lead back up to 18 points following an 8-0 run by the Trojans.
Jonathan Mebane scored eight quick points on a jumper and two three-pointers to cut the lead to 60-47. Brown cut it even further making a pair of free throws that put the score at 60-49 with 7:18 remaining.
UMO closed the gap to eight points, 64-56, following a 7-4 run by the Trojans.
A Matin three-pointer, his fifth of the game, cut the VSU lead to seven points, 68-61, with 1:22 remaining in regulation.
VSU held an eight-point lead 70-62, following a pair of free throws, but Matin came in clutch with another three that cut the lead to five points with 19 seconds.
Virginia State put in a pair of free throws to go up 72-65 as they narrowly edged out the Trojans of Mount Olive.
Jamaal Matin led Mount Olive with 21 points on the evening and shot 6-of-11 from three-point range.
Michael Brown added 14 points and Darius Spragley and Jonathan Mebane joined the double-digit club with 12 and 11 points respectively.
VSU outrebounded UMO 40-28 and scored 21 points from the free throw line shooting 21-30.
Mount Olive is back in action on Friday, Dec. 28, as they travel west to take on Wingate University. The Trojans and Bulldogs square off at 7 p.m. in Wingate. The two teams will turn around and play each other again on Dec. 30 at Kornegay Arena.