01/23/04 — Trojans head to Banner Elk in CVAC action

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Trojans head to Banner Elk in CVAC action

Published in Sports on January 23, 2004 2:18 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- This has been an exciting week for the Mount Olive College men's basketball team.

The Trojans opened the week with a conference win, then earned rankings in both the regional and national polls. The Trojans will cap their week Saturday on the road against a team that won only two games last season -- and has developed into one of the more difficult teams in the conference to play against this season.

Mount Olive hopes to end this week on a high note as the Trojans head to the mountains to face a much-improved Lees-McRae squad in Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference men's basketball Saturday at Banner Elk. Tip-off is at 4 p.m.

Mount Olive (11-2 overall, 5-1 CVAC) notched its eighth consecutive win Monday as the Trojans defeated Belmont Abbey 73-56 in CVAC action. Mount Olive held Belmont Abbey to two field goals over the final seven minutes to break open a close game. Sharome Holloway recorded his second double-double in three games with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Marcus West scored all of his 13 points in the second half.

Holloway, who was named CVAC Men's Basketball Player of the Week on Tuesday, has been a driving force in the Trojans' last three wins. After providing late-game heroics off the bench in wins over Barton and Erskine, Holloway started against Belmont Abbey and responded with four blocked shots in the first half. Holloway has averaged 13.0 points and 9.7 rebounds in his last three games.

The Trojans, who rank 19th in the nation in free throw shooting at 75.8 percent, went 22-for-26 from the line Monday against Belmont Abbey, including 7-for-8 in the final five minutes. In its last five games, Mount Olive is shooting 84.2 percent (48-for-57) from the line during the final five minutes.

Lees-McRae (4-8, 2-5) is coming off a 79-78 loss Monday at Limestone.

Five of the Bobcats' last six games have been decided by two points or less, including a 72-71 overtime victory against Belmont Abbey.

Lees-McRae gave No. 3 Pfeiffer all it could handle last Thursday before falling 111-104. The Bobcats have already doubled both their overall and conference win totals from last year.

Mount Olive won both meetings against Lees-McRae last year, defeating the Bobcats 96-62 at College Hall and winning 73-64 at Banner Elk.

Earlier this week, Mount Olive was included in both the national and regional polls. Mount Olive was one of nine teams listed among "Others Receiving Consideration" in the NABC/Division II Bulletin Men's Basketball National Top 25, placing the Trojans among the top 34 Division II teams in the nation.

Perhaps more importantly, Mount Olive was ranked No. 2 in the season's first NCAA Division II East Region Poll. The No. 2 regional ranking is the Trojans' highest-ever. At the end of the season, after conference champions earn automatic bids to NCAA II postseason play, the regional poll is what determines the remaining at-large berths.

MOC women seek to go back above .500

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Mount Olive College women's basketball team is looking to regain its early-season momentum. The Trojans will take on a team this weekend that may have found its momentum.

Mount Olive hopes to get back above the .500 mark Saturday as the Trojans head to Banner Elk to take on Lees-McRae in Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference women's basketball. Tip-off is at 2 p.m.

Mount Olive (6-6 overall, 3-3 CVAC) is coming off a 74-67 loss at home Monday against Belmont Abbey. The Trojans took an early seven-point lead, but a 20-3 run midway through the first half put Belmont Abbey ahead to stay. Ladora Charles led four players in double figures with 20 points. Charles, who enters Saturday's game as the leading scorer in the CVAC, has scored in double figures in 10 of her 12 games this season and has reached the 20-point mark seven times. She's averaging 18.3 points per contest.

Latoria Harvey continues to average a double-double with 14.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. She has nine double-doubles for the season, including seven in her last eight games. Teneal Boone is averaging 11.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. She also ranks third in the CVAC in blocked shots with 1.8 per game. Tanika Hudgins is coming off a season-high 16 points against Belmont Abbey. Hudgins has reached double figures six times this season, including three of her last four games.

The Trojans won their first two conference games, but now have lost three of their last four. Two of the losses were by seven points or less.

Lees-McRae (6-7, 3-3) enters Saturday's game on a four-game winning streak, including three consecutive conference wins. The Bobcats defeated Limestone 79-64 Monday to even their conference record after starting 0-3 in conference play.

Lees-McRae won both games against Mount Olive last year, defeating the Trojans 83-63 at College Hall and winning 72-63 at Banner Elk.

Lees-McRae will be the Trojans' second opponent in eight days to enter the game with three consecutive wins in conference play. Last Friday, Mount Olive defeated Erskine 70-54 to end their three-game conference winning streak. Coincidentally, Lees-McRae's last defeat was a 73-58 loss to Erskine.