01/17/05 — MOC teams host Belmont-Abbey

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MOC teams host Belmont-Abbey

Published in Sports on January 17, 2005 1:55 PM

The Mount Olive College men's basketball team hopes to keep its lead in the conference standings as the Trojans play host to Belmont Abbey in NCAA Division II Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference action tonight.

Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. at College Hall.

Mount Olive (11-2, 5-1 CVAC) is coming off an 86-72 victory over Lees-McRae Saturday at home as Elijah Rouse posted his second consecutive double-double with career highs of 22 points and 11 rebounds. The 6-foot-4 sophomore forward earned his first starts of the season in the Trojans' past two games in place of Chris Bartley, who missed time last week due to illness and injury.

Bartley came off the bench to play 26 minutes Saturday.

After suffering their only conference loss of the season last Monday against Pfeiffer, the Trojans have posted back-to-back victories to jump back on top of the CVAC standings. In both games, the Trojans had to pull away in the second half after a close first half.

Rouse provided the second-half spark in both games, converting three putbacks in the final six minutes Thursday against Coker, then scoring the first eight points of the second half Saturday against Lees-McRae.

The Trojans hope sophomore guard Elton Coffield has gotten back his 3-point touch back after going consecutive games without a 3-pointer for the first time this season. Coffield, who entered last week with the ninth-highest 3-point field goal percentage in the nation at just over 50 percent, was 5 of 8 from beyond the arc Saturday as he finished with 19 points.

Belmont Abbey (3-9, 2-4) defeated Queens 68-63 Saturday as Damien Humphrey (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Rafael Moreira (16 points, 11 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles. Moreira reached the 1,000-point mark in his career in the game.

Mount Olive and Belmont Abbey split their two games last year, each team holding serve on its home court. The Trojans won the first meeting 73-56 at College Hall as Sharome Holloway recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. The Crusaders won the rematch 100-87, during which Holloway suffered a season-ending wrist injury.

CVAC mark on the line

Coming into this past weekend, Mount Olive found itself alone atop the CVAC women's basketball standings and one game ahead of three teams in a tie for second place.

By luck of the schedule, the Trojans' next three games would be against those three teams involved in the tie. After passing the first test Saturday, the Trojans enter stage two of "the gauntlet" tonight.

Mount Olive puts its unbeaten conference record and five-game winning streak on the line against Belmont Abbey.

Tip-off is 5:30 p.m. at College Hall.

The Trojan women (8-4, 6-0 CVAC) defeated Lees-McRae 65-50 Saturday as Latoria Harvey recorded her third double-double in five games with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Mount Olive's defense keyed the win, recording seven blocked shots and 16 steals, and converting 28 Lees-McRae turnovers into 30 points.

Providing a spark on both ends of the court has been 5-foot-5 freshman guard Keona Corley, who not only has posted strong numbers in assists and steals, but also in rebounds. Corley made a run at a quadruple-double with seven points, eight rebounds, six assists and six steals. Her eight rebounds Saturday were second-highest only behind Harvey's 10 boards.

Mount Olive ranks 10th in the nation in rebound margin and has outrebounded 11 of its first 12 opponents, including all six in conference play. Defensively, the Trojans have not allowed more than 65 points in a game and have held six of their 12 opponents under 60 points.

The Trojans' defense has helped sparked the offense as Mount Olive has averaged 70.6 points per contest during its five-game winning streak. The Trojans were averaging less than 55 points per game prior to the streak.

Belmont Abbey (9-4, 5-1) is coming off an 84-58 win over Queens on Saturday as Nicole Woods scored 26 points. The Crusaders suffered their first conference loss of the season Thursday at Anderson (S.C.) College, leaving Mount Olive as the lone unbeaten team in CVAC play.

Belmont Abbey won a pair of tightly-contested games last year, defeating the Trojans 74-67 at College Hall and winning 64-62 at Belmont on a basket at the buzzer. Ladora Charles scored 20 points in the first meeting, while Teneal Boone scored a career-high 25 points in the rematch.