03/11/04 — Clingan gets his due

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Clingan gets his due

By David Williams
Published in Sports on March 11, 2004 2:01 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Finally, after 14 seasons at Mount Olive College, Bill Clingan has reached the promised land.

The men's basketball coach has been building, planning and working at getting the Mount Olive program on a national level of prestige and respect.

The biggest sign of his progress came with an invitation to the NCAA Division II east regional tournament, which begins this weekend at Pfeiffer College.

Coach Bill Clingan

News-Argus/Kaye Nesbit

Coach Bill Clingan

So how long did Clingan celebrate what many would call the high-water mark of his career?

"About five minutes," said Clingan. "After we were sure (that we were in), we started talking about Alderson-Broaddus."

The Battlers (25-6) are the first-ever NCAA tournament opponent for Mount Olive. A small school in Phillipi, West Virginia that has a big reputation for basketball, Alderson-Broaddus won the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athlatic Conference regular-season title and the tournament championship, winners of seven straight games. The Battlers' last loss a 75-68 defeat to Pitt-Johnstown on Feb. 21.

"They are an outstanding team," said Clingan. "They have a lot of experience and they only play about six or seven for around 29 minutes a game. They run a lot of sets and have five guys that can shoot."

Chief among those shooters is Stephen Dye, a 6-2 junior out of Whitesville, West Virginia. The deadeye led the WVIAC in free-throw shooting at 87 percent and buried 44 percent of his three-point attempts -- and he hit 113 shots from beyond the arc this season. Clingan saw Dye's performacne first-hand when the Battlers and Trojans matched up in the Rollins College tournament last season.

"He had 33 points in that game and went 8-for-11 in threes," Clingan said. "He makes four field goals out of every eight and a ahlf shots he takes."

Joining Dye on the Aldeson-Broaddus front line is Josh Allen, a 6-foot-6 senior who is in the top ten in most offensive categories for the WVIAC. Allen averages 16.6 points a game and, shoots 80 percent from the line and better than seven rebounds a game. Tyrone Hammonds, a 6-foot-4 senior, shoots 56 percent from the floor and averages 14.3 points per game. Mike Tucker is averaging 14.,3 points and 8.4 rebounds a gamme and shoots at a 62-percent clip.

All that addes up to an 82.8 points-per-game average, while allowing just 72.1. The 10-plus scoring margin is the tops in the WVIAC.

"Defensively, they'll do a lot of bumping," Cingan said. "They will hold us up momentarily and try to double us off all screens."

Clingan brings an interesting team to the game. Only one player averages in double figures -- Marcus West at 14.7 points a game -- but the team puts up 83 points a game on average. The Trojans shoot 51.9 percent from the floor, likes to play hard-nosed defense annd usually waits for a run in the second half to put them in position to take a victory.

Wins over Pfeiffer and Queens prove the Trojans are ready to battle the big boys in Division II.

"Our non-conference opponents have put us in this position," said Clingan. "Playing teams like Wilmington, Shaw and N.C. Central prepared us for this."

The Trojans got some good news Tuesday afternoon when the doctor cleared guard Janson Greene to play after recovering from a broken bone in his foot. Greene was the starting point guard at one point in the season,. and Clingan will check his stamina and his comfrot zone about his play as the game approaches.

"He definitely helps us with more depth," Clingan said.

Clingan said the tournament has very few advantages for his team.

"We're playing in North Carolina, and that means we don't have a long bus trip to take," he said. "And we've played there before. There's really no advantage with a field this tight. There are a lot of good teams.

"It is nice we are not in the bracket with Pfeiffer."

The winner of the 2:30 p.m. Saturday matchup with Mount Olive and Alderson-Broaddus will meet the winner of the noon meeting between West Virginia State and District of Columbia on Sunday at 5 p.m. The champinoship game is Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Notes: Mount Olive is not the only NCAA tournament newcomer in the field. West Vriginia State is making its first trip to the tourney ... Cheyney College has the most post-season experience, going 32-19 in 18 appearances. Alderson-Broaddus, on its third playoff trip, is 1-3 all-time ... Five of the eight teams in the regional rank among the top 35 in the nation in scoring -- Pfeiffer (1st, 95.6), West Virginia State (5th, 93.0), Mount Olive (25th, 83.0), Alderson-Broaddus (27th, 82.9) and Cheyney (34th, 81.3) ... The winner of this regional will go on to Bakersfield, California for the Division I Elite Eight tournament, starting March 24.