Bobcats Fall to #18 Trojans

MOUNT OLIVE, NC--The Lees-McRae Bobcats traveled to Mount Olive College Saturday afternoon to take on the Trojans in Conference Carolinas men's basketball action. The 18th ranked Trojans disposed of the Bobcats 99-70 to improve to 17-4 (13-2 Conference Carolinas) while the Bobcats record now stands at 4-18 (3-13).

The win also gave the Trojans sole possession of first place in Conference Carolinas after entering the game tied with Pfeiffer. The Falcons fell to Erskine 109-101 allowing the Trojans to stand alone at the top. Brandon Streeter led the Trojans with 21 points and 13 rebounds as a standing room only crowd of more than 1200 took in the contest as part of the 25th Annual Mount Olive College Basketball Church Night. Congregations from churches across the region were in attendance.

Mount Olive built an early five-point lead as Kendrick Easley's three-pointer broke a scoreless tie. But Lees-McRae used a 7-0 run as Raysean Hairston's (Elizabethtown, NC) basket with 13:12 left in the first half gave the Bobcats their only lead of the game at 11-9.

The game was tied five times before Josh Brown's three-pointer with 7:00 remaining put Mount Olive ahead to stay. Lees-McRae pulled within a point after Nick DeSchepper's (Fishers, IN) second three-pointer, but Streeter's putback and Easley's three-pointer highlighted a 14-2 run as the Trojans built their biggest lead of the half at 40-27. Streeter answered a Bobcat three-pointer with a putback in the final half-minute and Mount Olive went into the locker room with a 42-30 halftime lead.

Streeter was a point away from a first-half double-double with nine points and 10 boards. Eight of his rebounds before the break were on the offensive end. Brown had 11 points and Easley had 10 in the first half.

Lees-McRae got as close as eight points and DeSchepper scored the first four points of the second half. But Streeter and Shaughnnon Washum converted steals into fast break layups as Mount Olive went on a 17-5 run to take a 59-39 lead with 13:55 left to play. Streeter scored the Trojans' last 11 points during the run.

Mike Holloman brought the crowd to its feet with a pair of highlight reel plays on consecutive Trojan possessions midway through the second half, finishing a Washum steal with a fastbreak slam dunk, then driving the left baseline for another dunk. But Lees-McRae wouldn't go away as Blake Carr (Seymour, TN) connected on a three-pointer and Mario McClunie hit a pair of free throws with 10:52 left to pull the Bobcats to 64-50.

The lead was 16 when Easley scored six points during a 10-0 run and Brown's layup gave Mount Olive an 80-54 advantage with 8:26 remaining. The lead grew to as many as 35 points after a slam dunk putback by 5-foot-11 point guard Justin Melton. Lees-McRae shaved 10 points off the lead before the Trojans finished the scoring on dunks by Holloman and Kason Cheeks.

Saturday's contest marked the second consecutive game and third time this season the Trojans scored exactly 99 points. Mount Olive surpassed the 50 percent mark in shooting for the 10th time in 11 games, going 39-71 from the floor (54.9 percent).

Easley finished with 18 points for Mount Olive, while Brown scored 15 and Craig Hayes added 13 points. Washum dished out a career-high seven assists. The Trojans outrebounded Lees-McRae 42-28.

DeSchepper led Lees-McRae with 19 points, while Hairston finished with 13 points and Carr added 11. ReShon Benjamin (Valdosta, GA) shared game-high honors with seven assists.

The Bobcats will return to action Wednesday evening when Pfeiffer visits Williams Gymnasium for a 7:30pm contest. For the Trojans, their next outing will be a Monday evening home contest against Chowan.

PICTURED: Nick DeSchepper