MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. -- Aidan Richard scored a season-high 14 points and grabbed four rebounds and two other Crusaders reached double figures, lift Belmont Abbey to a key 64-61 Conference Carolinas road win Wednesday night at Mount Olive. Junior Deion Lane was one of the double-figure scorers, topping the 1,000-point mark for his career.
Drexler Clark also scored 11 points while adding seven rebounds. Jamal Martin led all scorers with 19 points for the Trojans (6-16, 5-9).
Belmont Abbey improved to 10-11 overall 6-7 in league play, surpassing its win total for all of last year. The Crusaders held a slim 31-30 lead at intermission, but Mount Olive started the second period with a three-pointer. However, The Abbey responded with an 11-0 run for a 42-33 lead with 14:38 remaining.
The lead was 57-47 with just under nine minutes to play when the Trojans began a furious rally. They used back-to-back three pointers to climb within six, but Belmont Abbey answered with four in a row. Two more three-pointers pulled UMO to within a bucket, 1-59, but Lane hit a pair of free throws for a 63-59 advantage with 3:07 left.
After a layup made the score 63-61 with 2:50 left, the teams managed only one point over the remaining time -- a Clark free throw with 11 seconds left -- for the final result. A three-point attempt to tie with one second left was unsuccessful.
Belmont Abbey held a 43.4 to 37.0 percent advantage from the field, and hit 14 of 18 free throws (77.8 percent). The Crusaders also held a 38-31 rebounding edge and had two fewer turnovers.
The Crusaders return to action on Saturday at Emmanuel.