Tigerville, S.C.—North Greenville came up three points short on Saturday night as the Mount Olive Trojans escaped Hayes Gymnasium with a 66-63 win over the Crusaders in a physical Conference Carolinas showdown.
The Crusaders led by as many as nine points in the first half when a Tommy Wade jumper made the score 28-19. The Trojans, now 4-2 in the conference, chipped away at the lead and eventually evened the tally at 34-34. It was the fourth tie of the half. UMO closed the half on a 6-2 run though as the two teams went into the locker rooms with Mount Olive leading 40-36.
The second half would see the Trojans work their way into a nine-point advantage with 15:08 left in the game. North Greenville would cut the deficit to four a couple times, only to see UMO score seven unanswered to extend its lead 11-points, the largest lead of the game for either team, a 61-50 margin with 7:33 left on the clock.
North Greenville would cut the lead to 62-61 with 2:46 left in the game and then take the lead with a pair of Korval McElroy free throws 43-seconds later. Mount Olive regained the lead a possession later and would extend the advantage to 66-63 after a pair of shots from the charity stripe with 10-seconds left on the clock.
The Crusaders gained possession down three with four second left in the contest but a last second three pointer from McElroy at the elbow was blocked and recovered by the Trojans as the clock wound down to zero, leaving NGU searching for its second league win of the season.
McElroy led the way again for North Greenville with the games only double-double scoring 16-points while collecting 14- boards, a game high. Justin Dotson had another solid night for the Crusaders with 14 points (3 of 7 from three point range) while Jai Jenks scored 11-points and collected nine rebounds.
NGU dominated the boards, collecting 44-rebounds compared to just 25 for the Trojans. Both teams scored 24-points in the paint while Mount Olive turned 19 North Greenville turnovers into 25-points.
The Crusaders fell to 3-8 on the season over and 1-4 in Conference Carolinas play. The team will travel to Bristol, Tennessee on January 13th to take on the King Tornado in a 7:30 conference tilt.