01/20/04 — MOC men continue streak with defense

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MOC men continue streak with defense

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on January 20, 2004 2:00 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Belmont Abbey men's basketball coach Dip Metress gave Mount Olive its only first place vote when preseason Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference rankings were announced last October.

Watching his Crusaders fall 73-56 to the Trojans on Monday backed up what he believed three months ago.

"I gave them a first-place vote, and I think he's got a team that can win it all," Metress said. "He's (Bill Clingan) got very good guard play and excellent interior play."

The win was Mount Olive's eighth in a row overall as it remains unbeaten at College Hall this season. The Trojans (11-2 overall) are now 5-1 against CVAC opponents heading into Saturday's road tilt at Lees-McRae.

The Trojans currently sit tied with Queens University for second place. Pfeiffer remains unbeaten at 6-0.

"I told them that it was the biggest game we've played so far with the situation being where we are in the conference, and we've had two great days of practice," Mount Olive coach Bill Clingan said.

Belmont Abbey fell to 10-4 overall and 4-3 in conference.

Currently ranked 25th overall in Division II scoring offense posting 83.1 points per game, the Trojans proved Monday their defense was capable of carrying them through long stretches. The 56 points given up was the least Mount Olive has given up against CVAC foes.

"We changed defenses a few times, and our zone especially moved well," Clingan said. "Still, there were a lot of opportunities we didn't capitalize on."

With a mix of defenses, Mount Olive held the Crusaders scoreless for the first five minutes of the game as it surged to an 8-0 lead. Belmont Abbey, missing leading scorer Rafael Moreira, never found consistency in the post as Sharome Holloway blocked four shots in the first half. Holloway also proved to be the only Mount Olive scorer in double figures with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

"He (Holloway) is coming on leaps and bounds," Clingan said. "The biggest thing about this team is that when they are called on to step up, they are able to deliver."

A three-pointer by the Crusaders' Damien Humphrey cut the Trojan lead to 56-52 near the seven-minute mark, but again the defense stepped up. Mount Olive posted a 19-4 run from that point to pull away convincingly.

Belmont Abbey shot a frigid 28.1 percent from the field and turned it over 22 times. Mount Olive suffered from poor shooting as well, making only 37.9 percent of its shots and had 17 turnovers. While its shooting from the floor may have not been dazzling, the Trojans knocked down 22-of-26 at the free-throw line.

After a picturesque alley-oop scoop pass from Janson Greene to Sean Barnett, Mount Olive's Brad McDougald drilled his third 3-pointer in just over six minutes to push the early lead to 13-5. Without a post presence to match Holloway and Barnett, Belmont Abbey leaned heavily on the three-point shot and knocked down back-to-back three's late in the first to close the margin to 38-34.

Holloway and Greene knocked down two free throws each to close the half, Greene's coming after a technical foul on Metress.

Mount Olive's Marcus West, who sat in the first half due to a coach's decision, got his first action of the game in the second half and proved to be another match-up problem for the Crusaders. West scored 13 points in the second half and blocked two shots.

"We couldn't score in the post, and if we can't score inside we aren't a very good basketball team," Metress said. "That's a credit to Mount Olive because they were prepared for us tonight."

Mount Olive (73)

Sharome Holloway 3 0 8-10 14, Sean Barnett 3 0 0-0 6, Johnny Galarza 0 0 0-0 0, Brad McDougald 3 3 0-0 9, Janson Greene 0 0 4-4 4, Maurice Horton 1 0 0-0 2, Chuckie Jefferson 0 0 0-0 0, Victor Young 2 1 1-2 6, Mark Bitzenhofer 0 0 0-0 0, Elton Coffield 3 2 1-1 9, Elijah Rouse 0 0 2-2 2, Marcus West 4 1 4-5 13, Chris Bartley 3 0 2-2 8, Plinio Broering 0 0 0-0 0.

Belmont Abbey (56)

Demetrius Howard 1 1 2-2 5, Damien Humphrey 3 1 4-4 11, John Gordon 1 0 3-6 5, Jon Adams 3 1 0-0 7, Greg LaVann 1 0 2-3 4, Steve Williams 1 1 0-0 3, A.J. Hargrave 0 0 0-0 0, Pat Bates 1 0 2-2 4, Wade York 0 0 0-0 0, Antonio Howard 5 2 5-6 17, Jason Burgess 0 0 0-0 0.

Halftime -- Mount Olive 42, Belmont Abbey 34. Three-point baskets -- Mount Olive 7-24 (Barnett 0-1, Galarza 0-3, McDougald 3-7, Greene 0-3, Young 1-2, Coffield 2-5, West 1-3); Belmont Abbey 6-19 (Howard 1-5, Humphrey 1-3, Adams 1-1, LaVann 0-4, Williams 1-2, Howard 4-5). Rebounds -- Mount Olive 39 (Holloway 11, Barnett, Greene 5); Belmont Abbey 36 (Humphrey 9). Assists -- Mount Olive 15 (Greene 5); Belmont Abbey 11 (Howard 3). Turnovers -- Mount Olive 17, Belmont Abbey 22. Steals -- Mount Olive 15, Belmont Abbey 7.