WILSON – Senior Michael Brown set a new career-high with 36 points, including 28 in the second half on Jan. 11, as the Trojans fell by an 81-78 margin at Barton in Conference Carolinas play.
With the loss, the University of Mount Olive men’s basketball team dropped to 4-11 overall with a 2-5 mark in conference action. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs remained atop the league and improved to 9-5 this season with an undefeated 7-0 record in league play.
Brown produced 36 points on 13 of 24 from the field, including seven of 11 from three-point range. He also totaled seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks in 38 minutes. Brown eclipsed 500 career assists and currently ranks among the top 10 in Division II with 95 assists this season. He delivered his second 30-point game of the year while averaging 22.1 points per game.
Senior Trayvon Ferrell finished with 11 points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal in 27 minutes. Teammate Kaeleb Carter registered nine points, five rebounds and two steals in 20 minutes.
Both teams struggled to find a rhythm in the initial five minutes of the game before Brown and sophomore Isaiah Bridges combined for 12 points on four of seven shots to take a 16-11 advantage with 11:31 left in the first half. Barton responded with an 11-4 rally over the next three-plus minutes to reclaim the lead at 22-20. Ferrell quickly tied the game on a layup before the Bulldogs mounted a 9-1 run to grab a 31-23 lead with 3:35 remaining. Mount Olive trimmed the deficit to 36-30 with 34 seconds left before Barton tallied three-consecutive points to hold a 39-30 advantage at the break.
In the second half, the Bulldogs opened with a three-pointer, but UMO answered with a 12-2 run on five of six shooting to close the gap to 44-42 with 17:11 left to play. Brown scored the next seven points as the Trojans took the lead at 49-46 before he nailed three straight shots from beyond the arc to stretch the advantage to 59-51. Barton rallied with a 12-2 run over the next three minutes to retake the lead 63-61. UMO stormed back again, led by Brown with nine points in a three-plus minute stretch, to pull ahead 72-69 with 6:47 remaining. The Bulldogs countered by tallying seven of the following nine points to hold a 76-74 advantage before both sides went scoreless for three minutes. Barton led 81-78 with 22 seconds left and sealed the win on a blocked three-pointer with two seconds remaining.
UMO shot at a 40.6 clip (28 of 69) from the floor after going 13 of 28 (46.4 percent) from three-point range. Meanwhile, Barton finished the game shooting 45.5 percent (30 of 66) and converted 16 of 19 (84.2 percent) from the free-throw line. The Bulldogs held a 43-40 rebounding advantage and scored 40 points in the paint, while the Trojans scored 19 points off the bench.
— From University of Mount Olive Athletics