The Trojans scored 50 points in the second half, after trailing 43-27 at halftime, but Mount Olive was able to hold on to an 84-77 win on the final day of the 46th Annual Pickle Classic, on Saturday, Nov. 19th in Mount Olive, NC. Junior Kenny Mitchell scored a team-high 19 points and grabbed 9 rebounds.
After a slow start for VSU, by shooting 36 percent (10-28) in the opening half, the Trojans made 70 percent (17-24) of their shots in the second half. VSU grabbed 15 defensive rebounds and drained 5 treys as they fought back into the game.
Three Trojans scored in double-figures led by Mitchell’s 19 points. Senior Ibn Rassoull had 18 points and sophomore Kevin Wiggins had 10 points. VSU shot 51.9 percent from the field (27-52) including 50 percent from three-point land (6-12).
Mitchell led the Trojans with 9 rebounds and both Rassoull and Wiggins grabbed 5 boards each. Freshman DeVonte Williams dished out 8 assists and scored 7 points. VSU’s Justin Bess and Mike Bynum each pitched in with 4 assists.
Mount Olive’s Staton Derek had 20 points to lead his team. Staton went 4-5 from three-point land and made 6-10 from the free-throw line.
The Trojans battled Barton College on the opening day of the Pickle Classic. Virginia State shot 37 percent from the field and had 23 turnovers in a 68-50 loss to the Bulldogs of Barton College on Friday, Nov. 18th. Ibn Rassoull led the Trojans with 18 points and 3 steals.
Senior Ibn Rassoull made 3 of 5 shots from three-point land, scoring a team-high 18 points and 3 steals for Virginia State. VSU’s Kenny Mitchell was the only other Trojan to score in double figures with 13 points. Mitchell had a team-high 6 rebounds and made 8 of 10 shots from the free-throw line.
Barton forced 23 Virginia State turnovers and scored 26 total points off those turnovers. The Bulldogs exploded for 44 second half points after trailing 29-24 at the half. Barton outscored VSU 30-10 in points in the paint in a come from behind win for the Bulldogs.
Virginia State led by as much as 11 points in the first half but found themselves down by 21 points with under a minute left in regulation. The Bulldogs shot 52-percent from the field and had 4 score in double figures.
Mount Olive Tops Lady Trojans, 69-52
Senior Mariame Sylla led the Lady Trojans with 10 points and 6 rebounds in a 69-52 loss to Mount Olive College on Wednesday, Nov. 16th in Mount Olive, NC. Virginia State outscored Mount Olive in the second half but trailed by 19 points at the end of the first half.
Virginia State fell behind 35-16 by the end of the first half after making 6 of 26 shots. The Lady Trojans missed all 6 shots from three-point land and had only four attempts from the free-throw line. Mount Olive was 45 percent from the field and drained 4 treys as they built a 19 point lead.
The second half was a different story for the Lady Trojans. Virginia State forced 10 turnovers and out-rebounded Mount Olive 26-16 in the final half of play. Senior, Mariame Sylla led the second half turn around with 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 blocked shot. Virginia State’s senior, Marquilla Evans scored 7 of her 9 points in the second half. The Lady Trojans team combined for 36 points in the second half, but Mount Olive held on to the lead and won, 69-52.
Virginia State’s bench outscored Mount Olive’s bench 24-7, led by Evan’s 9 points. Junior, Kiara Walton grabbed a team-high 7 rebounds for Virginia State and scored 3 points. Junior, LaMesha Deal had 6 rebounds and junior, Quiana Kizer added 4 rebounds and 8 points for the Lady Trojans.
Mount Olive made 46 percent of their shot attempts against the Lady Trojans. Andrea Jones had 19 points, Tamara Nesmith had 17 points, and Jasmine McDonald had 15 points for Mount Olive.
The Lady Trojans shot 39.7 percent (23-58) from the floor, but were just 3 of 16 from three-point range in a 62-57 loss to Belmont Abbey on Saturday, Nov. 19th in Belmont, NC. Senior Mariame Sylla led with 12 points on 6 of 10 shooting with 6 rebounds, 3 blocked shots, and a steal.
VSU trailed by just one point with 1:48 left, as neither team led by more than 6 points in the game. VSU’s largest lead was five and Belmont Abbey’s largest lead was six points.
VSU’s Yashica Blackney scored her only points of the game with 2:58 left in the game cutting the Abbey lead to a single point. The two teams traded scores before the Crusaders extended their lead to three points with 1:14 left.
The Lady Trojans did not score another basket after junior Jasmine Stewart knocked down a jump shot to close the lead to one point, but VSU did not score again. Belmont Abbey sealed the win with free-throws in the final minute and defensive pressure.
Sylla scored 8 points in the first half along with senior Maquilla Evans. VSU’s junior Quiana Kizer grabbed a game-high 7 rebounds and added 7 points and 3 assists. Junior Brianna Holt scored a season-high 7 points and had 5 rebounds for the Lady Trojans.
VSU will have their season home opener on Wednesday, Nov. 23rd against Bluefield State at 5:30 in Daniel Gymnasium
Jason Pompey is Sports Information Officer for Virginia State University Athletics. Email: JPompey@VSU.edu