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April 17, 2024 4:33 am

Trojans suffer loss against No. 17 UNCP

MOUNT OLIVE – Despite scoring 32 points off a season-high 19 forced turnovers, the University of Mount Olive men’s basketball fell in the closing minutes against No. 17 UNC Pembroke by a 68-63 margin at Kornegay Arena Dec. 10 in Conference Carolinas action.

With the loss, the Trojans fell to 2-8 this season behind an 0-3 mark in league play. Mount Olive has now lost five games by six points or less this season. Meanwhile, the nationally-ranked Braves improved to 9-1 overall with a 2-1 record in conference action while remaining undefeated on the road.

Senior Michael Brown paced all players with 22 points on seven of 17 from the floor while making seven of eight from the free-throw line. He also totaled three rebounds, three assists and one steal while playing all 40 minutes. Brown has scored in double figures in all 10 games this season with six 20-point performances. He currently sits third in the conference with 19.4 points per game.

Fellow senior Trayvon Ferrell finished with 14 points after converting seven of eight from the line. He also added five rebounds and two steals in 34 minutes. Senior Kaeleb Carter registered nine points, four rebounds, two steals and one block in 22 minutes, while freshman Shane Peterson tallied seven points and three rebounds in 32 minutes of play.

Mount Olive jumped out to an early 13-4 lead after knocking down six of 13 field goals and forcing six turnovers in the opening six minutes. UNC Pembroke countered with seven straight points to trim the deficit to 13-11 with 10:55 left in the half before UMO scored back to back buckets to hold a 17-11 advantage. Over the next six-plus minutes, the Braves mounted a 16-5 run to take a 27-22 lead with 2:32 remaining in the first. Ferrell responded with five straight points to tie the game at 27 before UNCP took a 31-29 lead into halftime.

The Trojans scored seven unanswered points to begin the second half and established a 36-31 advantage. UNCP rallied back with a 9-3 run to reclaim the lead, 40-39, with 12:17 left to play before UMO pulled back ahead 48-42. The Braves rallied to tie the contest at 50 with 7:35 remaining before both teams exchanged points over the next four minutes. UNCP held a 64-61 lead with 1:19 left before Carter converted a pair of free throws to close the gap to 64-63 with 54 seconds left. The Braves scored the final four points of the game over the last 27 seconds to secure the win.

UMO finished the contest shooting 33.9 percent (20 of 59) from the floor while converting 20 of 26 (76.9 percent) from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, UNCP shot 50 percent from the floor (25 of 50) and made five of 16 (31.3 percent) from beyond the arc. The Braves held a 39-32 rebounding advantage with 38 points in the paint, while the Trojans totaled 17 fast break points and 30 points in the paint.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics