MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – In game that saw both teams have sizeable leads, the King University men's basketball team came away with a tough fought road win at the University of Mount Olive. The Tornado saw their first half lead disappear, but closed the game on a 12-3 run to force overtime. The score remained tied after the first extra session before the Tornado took the 87-80 win to hand Mount Olive their first Conference Carolinas loss.
King (6-8, 3-1 CC) wasted no time lighting up the scoreboard as Brandon Crompton and C.J. Good connected on consecutive triples to give King a 6-2 lead only two minutes in. The Tornado held a slim 11-10 lead before their defense dug in. King held Mount Olive (8-5, 2-1 CC) scoreless for an eight minute and 40 second stretch as the Tornado extended their lead.
Shamarae Watts started the offensive spurt with a layup before the Tornado scored four straight points from the free throw line. Logan Lyle made all three of his free throws after getting fouled on a three-point attempt. Following buckets from Malcolm St. Louis and Drew Standifer, Hunter LeVeau threw down a dunk with eight minutes left to give King a 24-10 lead. LeVeau then capped the 16-0 run with a triple to give the Tornado at 27-10 lead with seven minutes left.
However, the Trojans broke their drought, and started to chip away at their deficit. The teams traded points until Mount Olive's Ewon Wright connected from long range to cut the Trojan deficit to 10 points with two minutes remaining in the first stanza. He then made a pair of free throws before Dontrell Brite drained a three-point basket with 1:22 left to make the halftime score 32-27. The Trojans closed the half on an 8-0 run to cut into King's lead.
The Tornado made four of their eight attempts from three-point range, and shot 47.8 percent from the floor in the first half while Mount Olive shot 40.7 percent from the floor and 30.0 percent from three.
The Mount Olive three-point shooting heated up in the second half as Brite started the frame with a triple to cut the deficit to two. However, St. Louis answered with a tip-in to extend the lead back to four. After King's lead was again cut to two, Good nailed a triple to start a quick 5-0 spurt as Standifer followed with a layup to give King a 39-32 lead three minutes into the half.
King then held a 41-35 lead following a Standifer jumper from the lane before the Trojans heated up. After back-to-back layups cut the Trojan deficit to two, Jordan McCain drilled consecutive three-point baskets to give Mount Olive their first lead of the game at 45-41 following the 10-0 run.
LeVeau ended the spurt with a triple before the teams began to trade baskets. The Mount Olive lead grew to as many as nine on two occasions, the last coming at 65-56 with 4:07 remaining as King began to chip away. Lyle connected on back-to-back triples in the next minute to pull King back within three. Following a Mount Olive free throw, LeVeau drilled another from long range to cut the deficit to 66-65 with 1:14 remaining.
Following a King turnover with 17 seconds left, it looked as though the Trojans might escape with the win, however, Calvin Walker came up with a steal to give the ball back to King. Walker found Scottie Hendricks in transition and Hendricks came up big with his only basket of the night, a triple to give King a two point lead. Mount Olive's Brite converted a pair of free throws with four seconds left to send the game to overtime all square at 68.
In the first extra session, Walker scored the first basket to give King an early lead, and Watts stretched the lead to 72-69 with a layup with 3:21 left. After Mount Olive evened the score at 72, McCain made a three-point basket to give the Trojans the lead, but on King's next possession, LeVeau answered with another three-point basket to even the score. McCain made another jumper with 42 seconds left before Watts made a layup and was fouled with 13 seconds left. He couldn't convert the three-point play, and Standifer came up with a steal to force a second overtime tied at 77.
The teams traded baskets to open the second overtime before Standifer gave King an 81-79 lead with a layup with 1:43 remaining. Watts then extended the lead to three with a pair of free throws as the Trojan offense went cold from the field. LeVeau then iced the 87-80 comeback victory with four free throws in the final 42 seconds.
It also marked the first time since February 26, 2011 King had played an overtime game. The Tornado fell to USC Aiken 93-85. King's last win in overtime came on January 17, 2009, a 78-77 victory over Tennessee Wesleyan College.
King shot 46.2 percent from the floor, and 37.9 from three while the Trojans made 48.3 percent of their shots and 44.4 percent of their three-point attempts.
LeVeau lead four King scorers in double figures with 20 points while Lyle followed with 16 points. Standifer added 13, and Watts chipped in with 12 points while grabbing a team-high eight rebounds.
King will return home on Saturday when they host Barton College at 7:30 p.m., in the Student Center Complex.