MOUNT OLIVE – The Trojans surrendered a pair of baskets in the final 13 seconds to fall by a 66-63 margin Nov. 12 against Columbus State on the final day of the 57th annual Pickle Classic at Kornegay Arena.
With the loss, the University of Mount Olive men’s basketball team dropped to 0-2 after facing a pair of programs from the Peach Belt Conference, who both made the NCAA Tournament last season. Meanwhile, the Cougars improved to 2-0 this season after defeating Barton in the season-opener 95-66.
Senior Trayvon Ferrell finished with 17 points on 7-14 shot attempts while collecting four rebounds and two steals in 33 minutes of play. After the opening weekend, he is averaging 18 points per game and shooting more than 54 percent from the field.
Fellow senior Michael Brown filled up the stat sheet against the Cougars after totaling 15 points on 5-13 shooting with eight rebounds (two offensive) and six assists in 38 minutes. A native of Winchester, Va., Brown is averaging 20.5 points, seven assists, and five rebounds through two games this year.
Junior Derreco Miller recorded eight points on 3-4 shots, while senior Cole Johnson registered seven points, seven rebounds, and two assists in 20 minutes after battling foul trouble.
Mount Olive opened the contest with five-consecutive points and built a 13-6 advantage after converting 5-7 shots from the floor over the initial four-plus minutes. Columbus State closed the gap with back-to-back three-pointers to make the deficit 18-14. UMO countered with a layup from freshman Brent Randleman and a three-pointer by sophomore Javian Cannady to extend the lead to 23-14 with 11:09 left. Following a three-pointer from Ferrell, the Cougars went on an 8-1 rally to tie the game at 27 after going a perfect 3-3 from the field. Both teams exchanged the next 14 points before they went into halftime tied, 34-34.
In the second half, the contest remained within three points over the opening seven-plus minutes before Columbus State nailed a three-pointer to take a 49-45 advantage with 12:33 remaining. Mount Olive quickly responded with a pair of free throws and a three-pointer by Randleman to reclaim the lead 50-49. The game would be tied four different times in the next six minutes before UMO scored seven straight points behind five points from Ferrell to take a 63-58 lead with 3:30 left. Columbus State closed the gap with four consecutive points, including a floating jump shot with 1:39 remaining to lead 63-62. The Trojans missed back-to-back threes and a free throw before the Cougars tallied consecutive buckets in the final 13 seconds to secure a 66-63 win.
UMO shot at a 38.3 percent clip (23-60) from the floor after going 10-36 (27.8 percent) from long range. Meanwhile, Columbus State finished the game shooting 43.1 percent (25-58) and converted 8-24 (33.3 percent) from beyond the arc. The Cougars held a slight 37-35 edge in rebounding and scored 34 points in the paints. The Trojans finished with 12 second-chance points and 22 points in the paint.
— From University of Mount Olive Athletics