By Tim Gardner
Feb. 29, 2012. MOUNT OLIVE, NC — The Mount Olive College men’s basketball team outscored Lees-McRae College by a 39-20 margin in the second half on Tuesday night en route to a 74-48 victory in the quarterfinal round of the Conference Carolinas Tournament.
Mount Olive (20-7) posted a field goal percentage of 48.3 percent on the night, including a 53.6 percent clip in the second half, while limiting Lees-McRae (9-17) to a mark of 32 percent from the floor. The Trojans won the battle on the glass by a 40-25 margin, including a 26-15 advantage on the defensive boards, while converting 15 Bobcat turnovers into 16 points.
DJ Brown (Anderson, S.C.) paced the Bobcats with 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including a 4-for-8 night from beyond the arc, as BJ Battle (Orlando, Fla.) and Asad Lamot (Mebane, N.C.) added nine and eight markers, respectively. Jeremiah Henry (Semmes, Ala.) chipped in seven points and six rebounds, as DeAndre Tillman (Charlotte, N.C.) posted two blocked shots to finish the year with the fifth-highest single-season total in school history (34). Lamot also added five assists for the Bobcats.
Craig Hayes led all scorers with 20 points for the Trojans, as Derek Staton and Jordan McCain added 19 and 16 markers, respectively. Staton dished out a game-high six assists, as McCain pulled down a contest-best eight rebounds and Dory Hines chipped in five assists.
After Mount Olive made a pair of buckets to snatch a 18-14 advantage, Lees-McRae responded with a 9-4 run to take a narrow 23-22 lead on a Lamot triple at the 6:04 mark. Mount Olive would answer with a 13-5 spurt, taking a 35-28 lead into the intermission following a last-second lay-in by Tillman.
The Trojans carried the momentum into the second half, opening the period with a 14-2 run to push the margin to 49-30 on a layup by Hayes with 12:30 to play. Mount Olive would hold on from there, stretching the margin to as many as 29 points.
Lees-McRae is expected to return 12 letter-winners from this year’s squad, including rising seniors Henry, Brown, Daniel Sepokas (Illawong, Australia), Corey Young (Bluff City, Tenn.), Chad Eppley (Boone, N.C.), Robert Hawthorne (Greenville, S.C.), and Juan Urbina (Barquisimeto, Venezuela).