Dontrell Brite led five players in double figures with a career-high 17 points, but his three-point buzzer-beater was waved off and a Shaw slam dunk putback with 1.6 seconds left proved to be the game winner as the Trojans fell to the Bears 81-79 in non-conference men's basketball Friday at Wilson, N.C. The Trojans nearly pulled out a miracle win after a bizarre sequence that saw each team commit two turnovers and Jordan McCain nearly make a 70-foot shot. The game was the Trojans' season opener and was part of the 45-Second Classic, hosted by Barton College.
Mount Olive (0-1) trailed 78-67 with 2:42 left to play before Brite scored the first five points of a 9-0 run with a tip-in and a three-point play. The Trojans turned steals by Kendall Hargrove and Jordan McCain on Shaw's next two possessions into points and McCain's two free throws cut the Bears' lead to 78-76 with 1:07 remaining.
Shaw (1-0) used up most of the shot clock on its next possession and Chaz Thomas hit 1-of-2 free throws with 36 seconds left after pulling down an offensive rebound on a missed three-point attempt. Ewon Wright followed with a three-pointer from the right wing for the Trojans to tie the score 79-79 with 24 seconds left.
Shaw played for the last shot and nearly committed a turnover when the Bears' point guard slipped to one knee. An off-balance three-point attempt with two seconds left was off the mark. But Andre Paulk ran from the left baseline, made a one-hand grab after the ball hit the rim and put home a slam dunk to give the Bears a two-point lead.
Dory Hines' pass was intercepted in the Trojan frontcourt and the game appeared to be over. But the Shaw defender celebrated prematurely and was called for traveling, allowing the Trojans to inbound the ball in the frontcourt sideline with exactly one second left.
Hines found Brite in the left corner and Brite nailed a three-pointer before the buzzer to give Mount Olive an apparent victory. But the officials ruled that Brite stepped out of bounds before taking the shot, giving Shaw the ball with less than a second left.
The Bears' inbound pass across mid-court was intercepted by McCain, whose long-range heave hit the glass and the rim before bouncing off to end the game. Officials indicated that the shot would have counted.
Mount Olive built a 38-28 lead after Hines' three-point play with 2:13 left in the first half. But the Trojans would not score again and Shaw ended the half with a 10-point run to tie the game 38-38 at halftime.
Shaw built a double digit lead after Carlton Johnson's three-point play made the score 68-58 with 7:41 left in the contest. The Bears' lead grew to 74-62 with 4:41 remaining before Mount Olive started making its comeback.
Hines finished with 14 points for Mount Olive, while Dominique Reed had 12 points, Hargrove added 11 points and McCain finished with 10 points. Brite, Hines and Mike Moore each dished out four assists. Brite and McCain also had three steals apiece, while Hargrove and Reed each had five rebounds. The Trojans hurt themselves at the free throw line, shooting 15-for-28 (53.6 percent).
Curtis Hines led all players with 20 points for Shaw, while Paulk added 17 points. The Bears were 16-for-20 from the free throw line (80.0 percent).
Mount Olive concludes tournament play Saturday against Elizabeth City State. Tip-off is 2 p.m.