MOC men get 15th CVAC win
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 1, 2004 1:56 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Not since 1999 has Mount Olive College enjoyed this much success on the men's basketball scene.
The Trojans tied a regular-season school record and set another in conference play with a 79-50 victory against Coker (S.C.) College at College Hall on Sunday afternoon. They captured their 21st regular-season win, tying the mark set in 1999 when they finished in a three-way tie for the NCAA Division II Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference regular-season championship.
Mount Olive recorded the most CVAC wins (15) in league play, topping the 1999 team which ended up 14-4.
The lopsided victory, coupled with Anderson's double-overtime upset of Queens, gave the Trojans the No. 2 seed for next week's CVAC Tournament. Mount Olive entertains either 10th-seeded St. Andrews or seventh-seeded Erskine (S.C.) College in a quarterfinal-round game Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Coker opens tournament play Tuesday at in-state rival Anderson.
The Trojans seized their fourth straight win in convincing fashion, working the ball inside-out and taking advantage of their height in the paint. The Cobras' tallest defender in the starting lineup was 6-foot-5 Jay Farrow, while Mount Olive put 6-8 center Sean Barnett and 6-7 forward Marcus West on the court.
Barnett and West dominated from the opening tip, staking the Trojans to a 5-0 lead.
"When we went down there, our post players played really good," Mount Olive assistant coach Joey Higginbotham said. "We had three post players in double figures and that was our emphasis (today) to get the ball in low, and let the inside create our outside (play).
"We did a real good job of that."
Guards Maurice Horton, Johnny Galarza and Victor Young consistently moved the ball on the perimeter and made the extra pass, which allowed either Barnett or West to get open inside. The strategy forced Coker coach Dan Schmotzer to burn two timeouts four minutes into the game.
The Cobras answered with a 7-0 run, capped by Jason Fulwood's 3-pointer with 16:15 to go in the half.
West's basket off Barnett's assist tied the game at 7-7 and started an 8-0 run for the Trojans. Elton Coffield buried a 3-pointer off Maurice Horton's assist. Elijah Rouse converted a steal into a layup and Chris Bartley hit the front end of a two-shot foul to make it 13-7.
Coker pulled within 13-9, but would get no closer the rest of the game. Barnett's two free throws, Bartley's open-court layup off Brad McDougald's assist and McDougald's 3-pointer boosted the advantage to 20-9. The Trojans took just four shots outside out the paint during that early stretch, and pleased the coaching staff with their patience.
"When we get the inside game going, our outside shooters become some of the best shooters in the conference," Higginbotham said. "When we come down and just jack (it up), we become some of the worst shooters in the conference. It's all shot selection. When we play inside-out, we're tough to beat.
"We want to be patient because further along in the year you have to play halfcourt basketball. We're going to play up-tempo, but there are times in the game you've got execute in the halfcourt set."
Barnett's offensive putback and free throw gave Mount Olive its biggest lead, 33-13, late in the opening half. Coker climbed within 33-20 at halftime, but could never trim the deficit to single digits in the second half.
Mount Olive continued to pull away in the second half and collected its 13th win at home against just one loss. McDougald and Rouse led five Trojans in double figures with 11 points. Barnett, West and Bartley each added 10. Bartley dished out a team-high six assists. Mount Olive had 19 assists as a team on 31 made field goals.
Fulwood paced the Cobras with 20, including five 3-pointers in the second half.
The Trojans continued play without starting point guard Janson Greene (foot injury) and part-time starter Sharome Holloway (broken hand). Greene hopes to return if the Trojans advance to the NCAA Tournament.
Mount Olive's postseason aspirations received a huge boost due to Anderson's win, which helped shake up the East Region rankings. Mansfield (Pa.) University, the University of District of Columbia and Queens -- all ranked ahead of Mount Olive -- each suffered a loss. The Trojans finished 3-0 last week and the coaching staff hopes that moves them out of the No. 9 spot into a more favorable position for an at-large tournament bid.
The final regional poll will be released Wednesday.
Andre Blackwell 3 0 0-0 6, Jamie Jenkins 1 0 4-8 6, Ryan Queen 2-2 2, Jay Farrow 2 0 2-2 6, Jason Fulwood 1 6 0-0 20, Johnny Jackson 0 1 0-0 3, Deon Briscoe 0 1 0-0 3, Vance Caraway 0 0 1-2 1, Chauncey Barnwell 1 0 0-0 2, Rico Stewart 0 0 1-2 1.
MOUNT OLIVE (79)
Sean Barnett 3 0 4-8 10, Marcus West 5 0 0-0 10, Maurice Horton 1 0 0-0 2, Johnny Galarza 0 0 0-0 0, Victor Young 2 1 0-0 7, Brad McDougald 1 3 0-0 11, Chuckie Jefferson 2 0 2-2 6, Mark Bitzenhofer 1 1 0-0 5, Elton Coffield 0 1 0-0 3, Elijah Rouse 5 0 1-5 11, Chris Bartley 3 1 1-2 10, Plinio Broering 1 0 2-2 4.
Halftime -- Mount Olive 33, Coker 20. Three-point baskets -- Mount Olive 7-16 (Horton 0-1, Galarza 0-1, Young 1-2, McDougald 3-7, Bitzenhofer 1-2, Coffield 1-2, Bartley 1-1); Coker 8-20 (Jenkins 0-2, Fulwood 6-9, Jackson 1-1, Briscoe 1-6, Barnwell 0-1, Hall 0-1). Rebounds -- Mount Olive 46 (Barnett 9), Coker 36 (Jenkins 9). Assists -- Mount Olive 19 (Bartley 6), Coker 11 (Hawkins 3). Turnovers -- Mount Olive 15, Coker 24. Blocked shots -- Mount Olive 2, Coker 3. Steals -- Mount Olive 14, Coker 5.
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