Mount Olive Tops St. Andrews 70-55

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MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – Brandon Streeter scored a game-high 15 points and Mike Holloman highlighted a late run with back-to-back fast break alley-oop baskets as nationally 18th-ranked Mount Olive defeated St. Andrews 70-55 in Conference Carolinas men’s basketball Thursday at Kornegay Arena. The Trojans shot 61.4 percent from the field, the ninth consecutive game over 50 percent. The was Mount Olive’s 10th in its last 11 games

Mount Olive (15-4 overall, 11-2 Conference Carolinas) used three-pointers by Kendrick Easley and Aking Elting to take an early six-point lead, but St. Andrews (5-14, 4-8) came back with a 6-0 run as Joseph Gripper’s putback tied the game 13-13 with 11:03 left in the first half. Craig Hayes broke the tie with a pair of free throws 16 seconds later and the Trojans led the rest of the way.

St. Andrews got as close as four points, but back-to-back three-pointers by Josh Brown and Aaron Dobson capped a 16-4 run and gave the Trojans a 29-17 lead with 5:01 remaining. Holloman assisted on both three-pointers, the second assist coming on a rainbow lob from the left corner to Dobson in the right corner.

The Trojans’ lead grew to as many as 17 after Josh Brown’s three with 1:01 remaining made the score 38-21. Charles Phillips scored for St. Andrews with 35 seconds left as the Knights pulled within 38-23 at the break. Mount Olive outscored St. Andrews 25-10 after the game was tied.

St. Andrews cut Mount Olive’s lead to single digits early in the second half as Ron Deas’ layup brought the Knights within 42-33 with 12:51 remaining. The Trojans used their bench and the three-ball to get the lead back to double digits as Dobson and Brown connected from long range to give Mount Olive a 52-39 lead with 7:35 left to play.

Phillips scored six consecutive St. Andrews points, including 4-of-4 free throws, as the Knights again pulled within single digits at 54-45 with 5:11 remaining. Streeter, who was out of the game for more than 10 minutes, scored the next two baskets in the paint and the lead stayed at double figures the rest of the way.

The Trojans’ lead was 12 when Brown made a steal and lobbed to Holloman, who finished with a slam dunk. Streeter made a steal on St. Andrews’ next possession and Holloman finished the fast break with a finger roll on Easley’s lob to give Mount Olive a 65-49 lead with 2:51 remaining. Streeter’s three-point play with 2:23 left gave the Trojans their biggest lead at 68-49.

Streeter, who ranks 12th in the nation with a 66.0 percent field goal percentage, was 6-for-8 from the floor. As a team, the Trojans were 27-for-44, including 9-for-14 (64.3 percent) from three-point range. Brown, Easley and Hayes scored nine points apiece, while Holloman added eight points and five assists. Elting, who started at point guard in place of an injured Justin Melton, shared game-high honors with five assists.

Phillips scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half to lead St. Andrews, while Bradley Hippolyte added 11 points.

Mount Olive returns to action Saturday as the Trojans play host to Anderson in a Conference Carolinas match-up. Mount Olive won 77-70 at Anderson on January 5. Tip-off is 4 p.m. at Kornegay Arena. St. Andrews travels to Banner Elk, N.C., Saturday at 4 p.m. to take on Lees-McRae in Conference Carolinas action.