02/09/04 — Trojan women seeking CVAC win

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Trojan women seeking CVAC win

Published in Sports on February 9, 2004 2:00 PM

MOC Sports Information

MOUNT OLIVE -- Tonight's men's basketball game between Mount Olive and Pfeiffer is not just another conference game.

For the first time in school history, Mount Olive will play at home as a nationally-ranked team. In addition, the Trojans will be facing the last remaining unbeaten team in the nation in Division II.

Turn off the TV set tonight.

"Big Monday" takes place at College Hall.

In the first-ever contest at College Hall between two nationally-ranked teams, No. 20 Mount Olive plays host to No. 3 Pfeiffer tonight in NCAA Division II Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference men's basketball. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. The two teams are ranked in the NABC/Division II Bulletin Top 25 Poll.

Mount Olive (16-3 overall, 10-2 CVAC) has won two straight games on the road after seeing its school-record 11-game winning streak come to an end last Monday. The Trojans rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to defeat Erskine 63-53 Saturday at Due West, S.C. Elton Coffield scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half, including three three-pointers in the first 10 minutes of the second half to spur the comeback.

Statistically, Mount Olive's recent games have gone from offensive shootouts to defensive battles. The Trojans had been averaging more than 80 points per game most of the season and allowing over 70 points per contest. In its last four games, Mount Olive has scored an average of 66.5 points per contest, while allowing an average of only 59.3 points per game. The Trojans held each of their last two opponents under 55 points. Mount Olive's 63 points against Erskine Saturday were a season low, as were the 46 points allowed against Coker two nights earlier.

Along with the game being a contest between nationally-ranked teams, tonight's contest is also crucial battle in both the CVAC standings and the regional rankings. Pfeiffer is atop the CVAC standings, three games ahead of second-place Mount Olive. Pfeiffer and Mount Olive also rank first and second, respectively, in the NCAA Division II East Region Poll. Along with conference champions from the CVAC, Pennsylvania and West Virginia conferences, the top five at-large teams will earn bids to next month's NCAA II East Region Tournament.

Pfeiffer (19-0, 12-0) is coming off an 86-79 win at Belmont Abbey Saturday to stay unbeaten. Kenny Mickens led Pfeiffer with 24 points. Pfeiffer is averaging 94.7 points per game this season, second-highest in the nation. While the Falcons have the longest active winning streak in the nation, not all of the wins have come easy. Two weeks ago, Pfeiffer needed a turnover with two seconds left and a layup with 0.5 seconds remaining to defeat St. Andrews 86-85. Last Tuesday, Pfeiffer had to rally from a 17-point deficit to outlast Queens 106-102.

Along with hoping to maintain its conference, regional and national rankings, the Trojans hope to even the score for losses to Pfeiffer in their last two meetings. Mount Olive fell 97-72 at Pfeiffer on Dec. 2, 2003, in the Trojans' last defeat prior to their 11-game winning streak.

The Trojans had cut a nine-point deficit down to one midway through the second half before Pfeiffer scored 23 unanswered points to break the game open. Last year, Pfeiffer ended Mount Olive's season with a 109-93 win over the Trojans at College Hall in the quarterfinal round of the CVAC Tournament.

One statistic that stands out since their Dec. 2 meeting, Mount Olive (13-1) and Pfeiffer (12-0) have a combined record of 25-1. Another statistic of note is Mount Olive has won each of its last two home games against teams ranked in the national top 10.

This week's NABC/Division II Bulletin Top 25 will be announced Tuesday morning and the NCAA II regional rankings will be announced Wednesday. Both polls are based on games played through Sunday. Tonight's contest will be reflected in next week's polls.