MOUNT OLIVE – The duo of sophomore Shane Peterson and freshman Kahlif Barnes combined for 31 points at the 42nd Annual Church Night, as the University of Mount Olive men’s basketball team mounted a late second-half run to earn a 71-63 victory over Erskine in Conference Carolinas action on Saturday.
With the win, the Trojans improve to 6-15 overall with a 5-6 mark in conference play. Mount Olive holds a 13-2 record against Erskine over the last 15 meetings while boasting an 11-1 mark in Kornegay Arena dating back to 2012. Meanwhile, the Flying Fleet drops their seventh straight game to fall to 3-16 this season behind an 0-12 record in league action.
Peterson produced a team-high 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting while converting four three-pointers on Saturday night. He added five rebounds, two assists, and three steals in 37 minutes on the court. Barnes finished with 15 points (13 scored in the second half) on 7-of-11 attempts behind four rebounds, and two blocks in 28 minutes.
Freshman Josiah Watkins contributed nine points, two rebounds, five assists, and one steal in 15 minutes off the bench. Sophomore Aaron Murphy tallied eight points and one rebound in 12 minutes off the bench.
In the first half, the Trojans made three of their initial four shots in the opening minutes of the contest to hold an 8-3 edge. Erskine rallied back by scoring five of the following seven points, but Mount Olive countered with a 10-2 run, led by Peterson with six points, to stretch the lead to 20-10 with 11:18 left. The Trojan offense remained on fire from the floor after knocking down six-of-nine shots, including a trio of three-pointers to take an 18-point advantage, 39-21. The Flying Fleet mounted a late 10-4 rally in the closing three-plus minutes, as UMO held a 43-31 lead at the break.
Erskine closed the gap to 49-46 in the opening five minutes of the second half, but Mount Olive weathered the storm and went on a 10-5 run to extend the lead to 59-51 with 11:40 to go. The Flying Fleet hit a three-pointer on the next possession as part of a 9-1 rally to tie the contest at 60-60 with 8:38 left. The Trojans responded with nine consecutive points, led by Barnes with seven, to increase their advantage to 69-60. Erskine countered with a three-pointer before Barnes made another layup to ultimately secure the 71-63 victory.
UMO shot at a 48.1 clip (25-of-52) from the floor while going 9-of-24 (37.5 percent) from three-point range. Meanwhile, Erskine finished the game shooting 43.3 percent (26-of-60) and converted 10-of-32 (31.3 percent) from three-point range. The Trojans held a 35-29 rebounding advantage with 28 points in the paint, while the Flying Fleet registered 11 points off turnovers.
Redshirt freshman Max Peeler scored a game-high 17 points with one rebound and two assists in 35 minutes. Senior Jaylen Prioleau finished with 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting behind six rebounds, eight assists, three steals, and two blocks in 35 minutes. Freshman Christian Monroe tallied 12 points after going 5-for-12 from the field with five rebounds, two assists, and one steal in 33 minutes.
Mount Olive begins a three-game road trip on Wednesday when it travels to face Francis Marion in conference play at 7:30 p.m.