Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mount Olive Defeats No. 23 Virginia Union 79-76 In Overtime

AIKEN, S.C. – Brandon Allen’s putback tied the game with 18 seconds left in regulation and his three-point play with 22 seconds remaining in overtime put Mount Olive ahead to stay as the Trojans defeated nationally 23rd-ranked Virginia Union 79-76 in day one of the 2010 ConocoPhillips and Quality Energy Services USC Aiken Pre-Holiday Men’s Basketball Classic Thursday at Aiken, S.C. Allen scored six of his 12 points in overtime.

Derek Staton led five Trojans with 20 points, while Ewon Wright hit 4-of-5 three-pointers in the second half and scored a career-high 16 points for the second straight game.

All of the Trojans’ first seven games have been decided by six points or less.

Mount Olive (6-2) led 63-58 after Staton’s layup with 2:42 left in regulation. Virginia Union (2-1) rallied to take a 65-64 lead on Braxton Byerson’s three-pointer with 1:14 left. Dory Hines’ free throw tied the game before Byerson put the Panthers back on top 67-65 with 37 seconds left.

A Virginia Union foul with 22 seconds left gave Mount Olive a chance to tie the game from the free throw line. The Trojans missed both attempts, but Allen pulled down the rebound in the middle of the lane and hit a short jumper to tie the game. Mount Olive got the ball back with 5.8 seconds left after a missed Virginia Union shot, but Staton’s three-pointer at the buzzer rattled out and the Trojans went to overtime for the first time this season.

Aleks Mitrovic, who scored eight of his career-high 10 points in the first half, scored the first basket of the overtime period. Allen and Staton connected on three-pointers in the overtime as the lead changed hands seven times in the extra period.

Virginia Union went on top 76-75 on a pair of free throws by Justin Ramsey with 41 seconds left. Ramsey and Byerson combined for all of the Panthers’ points in overtime.

On Mount Olive’s next possession, Allen drove the lane, scored off the glass and drew the foul. Allen hit the free throw to give the Trojans a 78-76 lead.

Virginia Union missed a layup with 12 seconds left and Wright pulled down the rebound for the Trojans. Wright passed to Staton, who drew a foul with seven seconds left. Staton hit 1-of-2 free throws and Byerson missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.

Mount Olive scored its first eight points of the game from the free throw line before Deshaune Green’s layup with 13:10 left in the first half. Staton’s three-pointer three minutes later broke a 12-12 tie and the Trojans built the lead to as many as six points.

Mitrovic hit three straight layups for Mount Olive, one coming off a drive and dish by Allen and another off an offensive rebound as the Trojans led 24-19 with 5:17 remaining in the half. Virginia Union used a 6-0 run to take the lead as Byerson hit 4-of-4 free throws during the run.

The two teams exchanged the lead before Brandon Allen sank a pair of free throws with 1:21 remaining to give Mount Olive a 28-27 halftime lead. Byerson scored eight of Virginia Union’s final 10 points of the half.

Mount Olive turned the ball over on each of its first three possessions of the second half as Virginia Union regained the lead. But Wright’s three-pointer ignited a 7-0 Trojan run to give Mount Olive a 37-33 lead with 14:20 left.

A 15-6 run gave Virginia Union a five-point lead, its biggest of the game. Staton scored the next five points and Wright nailed three consecutive three-pointers in a span of less than four minutes to give Mount Olive the lead late in regulation.

Mahamed Ibrahim finished with 10 points for the Trojans, while Hines added seven points, nine rebounds and six assists. Mount Olive overcame 18 turnovers while forcing 18 Virginia Union turnovers. The Trojans were 11-for-12 from the free throw line in the first half and 25-for-33 for the game.

Byerson led all players with 34 points for the Panthers. Gregory Redford notched a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Mount Olive concludes tournament play Friday as the Trojans take on Shaw. Tip-off is 2 p.m.

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