02/03/04 — MOC men fall to Barton

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MOC men fall to Barton

By David Williams
Published in Sports on February 3, 2004 2:00 PM

The most disappointing thing in Mount Olive College's men's basketball loss to Barton College Monday was not that the 76-68 defeat broke the Trojans' impressive 11-game winning streak.

It was not that the Bulldogs handed Mount Olive it's first home loss of the season.

It was not even that all this came at the hands of the Trojans' most bitter rival.

The most disappointing thing was that all this happened through Mount Olive's own generosity.

Coach Bill Clingan noted that fact as his players filed out of the dressing room after the game.

We gave them a lot of opportunities," Clingan said. "Careless passes, not chasing down loose balls. We stopped listening as a team. We have to go back to the basics.

"We can't change what happened. We can change what's ahead."

Barton (12-5, 7-4) used a strong baseline game and sticky man-to-man defense to harass and muscle up Mount Olive (14-3, 8-2) from the opening tap. The Bulldogs led by as much as seven points in the first half, but the Trojans were able to use Marcus West inside to keep the game close.

Mount Olive struggled from the three-point arc, shooting just 2-for-14 in the opening period from the deep line. A 28 percent performance from the floor in the first half likely made Clingan feel fortunate to be down just 30-26 at halftime.

The second half opened as Barton made a 10-2 run to get some separation. The inside muscle of John Green and the perimeter gunning of Derek Becton were key in the stretch as the Bulldogs took a 36-50 lead at the 12:02 mark.

Mount Olive found its stroke and answered quickly on back-to-back threes from Brad McDougald and West. Sharome Holloway hit a pair of free throws and followed with a big dunk to close the deficit to 50-48 with 9:41 left.

Barton began to get big plays under the basket from Jacoby Key, who hit several lay-ins from the low post to give Barton another edge. Barton got 38 points in the paint for the game, compared to 17 for Mount Olive.

The Bulldogs got another double-digit lead with 2:23 to go after Key knocked down another short jumper and the Barton fans in College Hall began to get ready for a celebration.

Mount Olive again put the party on hold.

Goldsboro's Victor Young nailed a three, only to see Barton re-extend the lead on the free throw line as the Trojans were forced to foul. The play was working as Mount Olive used threes from Johnny Galarza and Maurice Horton to cut the gap back to four points at 69-65 with 1:03 left.

But the shots dried up as Mount Olive struggled to hit another three in the final minute. Barton kept on hitting their free throws until the outcome became academic with 15 seconds to play.

Becton had 16 points to pace Barton, while Key had 15 and John Green had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Ervin Gregory added 12 for the Bulldogs.

West had his best scoring game since the Jan. 12 game at Barton, with 22 points. The total was one point shy of his season-high -- but no other Trojan reached double figures.

"Barton played hard," said Clingan. "They shot well at times, they picked up loose balls."

Clingan noted that his team may have been "playing not to lose" as the win streak grew.

"Maybe we got to that point," he said. "We stopped listening as a team. We didn't rotate on the baseline on defense -- that's what I'm talking about by not listening."

The Trojans, needing to win the CVAC or finish in the top four of the regional poll to assure themselves of a first-ever trip to the NCAA Division II regional tournament, remain in second place two games behind leader Pfeiffer. Queens is a half-game back in third place and Belmont Abbey is in fourth, just one game behind Mount Olive. The Trojans were in second place in the last regional poll.

Ahead of Mount Olive is a tough final 10 games -- seven of them on the road. Trips to Belmont Abbey and Queens await, as well as a home game Monday against Pfeiffer.

"It's crunch time," Clingan said. "Home or away, good teams will win more of these than they lose. We need to start another streak again, and play within themselves.

Clingan said it was difficult to be disheartened with a 14-3 worksheet at this time of year.

"If you win, everything takes care of itself," he said. "If you lose, you don't belong there to begin with."

Mount Olive will travel to Hartsville, S.C. on Thursday to meet Coker for the first time this season.

BARTON (12-5, 7-4)

Derek Becton 5-9 1-2 5-6 16, Jacoby Key 7-10 0-0 1-4 15, Ervin Gregory 4-5 4-4 4-4 13, John Green 4-7 0-2 4-6 12, Casey Moore 4-10 0-3 0-1 8, George Turner 3-3 0-0 1-4 7, Steven Burroughs 1-2 0-0 3-4 5, Matt Kirtland 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Courtney Coffer 0-0 0-0 0-0 0, Robert Pinder 0-2 0-1 0-0 0. Sherman Holmes 0-0 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS -- 28-49 2-9 18-29 76.

MOUNTOLIVE(14-3, 8-2)

Marcus West 7-15 2-4 6-6 22, Victor Young 3-7 2-3 0-0 8, Sharome Holloway 2-6 0-2 3-4 7, Sean Barnett 3-7 0-1 1-3 7, Maurice Horton 2-6 1-3 2-3 7, Johnny Galarza 2-6 2-6 1-2 7, Janson Greene 1-5 1-4 2-2 5, Brad McDougald 1-8 1-6 0-0 3, Chris Bartley 1-2 0-1 0-0 2, Mark Bitzenhofer 0-1 0-1 0-0 0, Elton Coffield 0-3 0-2 0-0 0, Elijah Rouse 0-0 0-0 0-0 0. T.

Halftime -- Barton 30, Mount Olive 26. FG pct -- Barton 57.1, Mount Olive 33.3. Three-point pct -- Barton 22.2, Mount Olive 27.3. FT pct -- Barton 62.1, Mount Olive 75.0. Rebounds -- Barton 36 (Green 13, Key 6), Mount Olive 34 (West 6, Barnett 5). Steals -- Barton 7 (Turner 2), Mount Olive 3 (Holloway, Horton, Young). Turnovers -- Barton 17, Mount Olive 15.