Tigerville, SC – Trailing by as much as 13 points early in the second half, the North Greenville men’s basketball team fought its way into a 97-91 comeback victory over the Trojans of the University of Mount Olive in Hayes Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
The Trojans opened the game with six unanswered points before Patrick George put the Crusaders on the board with a layup. Mount Olive continued to lead until a 7-0 run by North Greenville tied the game at 16-16 with 13:34 remaining in the first half.
The two teams played to three more ties in the half until Mount Olive’s lead stretched to as large as eight points with just over three minutes left on the clock before carrying a 44-40 lead into the half.
In the second half, Mount Olive’s lead grew to 13 points in the first three minutes of play until the Crusaders used a 15-2 run over a three minute stretch tied the game at 57-57 with 14:12 on the clock.
Mount Olive gained a slight edge until late in the game when a jumper by junior Phillip Brown gave North Greenville a lead of 83-81 that they would extend over the final four minutes of play. The Crusaders were 9-for-10 from the free throw line in the final 1:27 of play to seal the six-point victory at home.
As a team North Greenville shot 49.2 percent from the floor while gaining a 42-41 advantage on the boards.
Brown secured his ninth double-double of the season with 23 points, shooting 6-for-12 from the field and 11-for-13 from the free throw line, and a game-high 17 rebounds.
Senior Keith Johnson recorded a game-high 26 points and seven assists, while fellow senior Chris Dean chipped in 14 points of his own. Freshman Jai Jencks played big minutes off of the bench, scoring a career-high 10 points with five rebounds in 11 minutes of action.
The Crusaders (8-5, 3-2 Conference Carolinas) will hit the road for a contest with Pfeiffer University on Wednesday, Jan. 15 in Misenheimer, NC at 7:30 p.m.