MOC men's basketball takes on Seahawks in exhibition Saturday
Published in Sports on November 5, 2004 1:55 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- The 2003-04 Mount Olive men's basketball season began with an exhibition game at UNC-Wilmington and ended with its first-ever trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
In between, there were school records for most wins and longest winning streak, its first-ever national ranking and an 80-foot shot that was aired on virtually every television outlet in the country.
There's no guarantee that 2004-05 will be a duplicate of last year, but the Trojans begin the season the same way as Mount Olive heads to Wilmington Saturday for an exhibition game against Division I UNC-Wilmington. Tip-off is 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the door for $5.
Mount Olive posted a 23-8 record last year, eclipsing the previous school single-season record of 22 wins. The Trojans tied for second in the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference regular-season standings and advanced to the championship game of the tournament.
The Trojans were ranked as high as No. 20 in the NABC/Division II Bulletin top 25 poll -- Mount Olive's first-ever men's basketball national ranking. The ranking came on the heels of an 11-game winning streak, also a school record.
The season may best remembered for one game and one shot -- Marcus West's 80-foot heave at the buzzer to give the Trojans a 108-105 victory against then-undefeated and nationally fourth-ranked Pfeiffer. "The Shot" was No. 1 on ESPN Sportscenter's Top 10 Plays of the Day and was also the Play of the Day on CNN and Fox Sports. The Shot was aired on local affiliates, not only in eastern North Carolina, but from coast-to-coast.
West is among five senior starters from last year's squad who will be missing from this year's lineup. But by going 11 deep last year, the Trojans have a number of experienced players who will take the floor Saturday against UNCW.
Senior forward Sharome Holloway, a preseason all-CVAC selection, will see his first action after missing the final month of last season with a broken wrist. Junior guard Maurice Horton stepped in at point guard last year after Janson Greene was lost to a foot injury. Horton went on to earn all-tournament honors at the CVAC Tournament. Junior guard Victor Young, a graduate of Goldsboro High, started only eight games last season, but was fourth on the team in scoring and in minutes played.
UNC-Wilmington posted a 15-15 record last year and had its four-year streak of postseason appearances snapped. The Seahawks had reached the NIT two consecutive years. They followed that with back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament, stunning No. 4 seed Southern Cal in the first round in 2002 and losing at the buzzer to defending national champion Maryland in the first round in 2003.
Mount Olive fell to UNCW 72-63 in last year's meeting, which saw the Trojans rally from a 17-point deficit. West led all scorers with 21 points, while Holloway also reached double figures with 10 points.
Saturday's contest is the first of two games against Division I opponents for the Trojans. Mount Olive heads to Chapel Hill one week from tonight for its first-ever meeting against North Carolina.
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