11/14/04 — Trojan men gain valuable experience at UNC

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Trojan men gain valuable experience at UNC

By Sam Atkins
Published in Sports on November 14, 2004 2:00 AM

CHAPEL HILL -- It can be hard to find positives from a loss, but the Mount Olive College men's basketball team learned many things from playing the University of North Carolina on Friday that will help them throughout the rest of their season.

"This is nothing but a help, help situation for us," said Trojan coach Bill Clingan. "I'm not disappointed in our kids at all."

UNC defeated the Trojans 100-69 in an exhibition game and the Trojans' first-ever battle against the Tar Heels. Clingan said games like this one help both teams. The Division I team gets to run more of its set offense and the Division II team gets the chance to step up and receive some recognition.

UNC started off slow offensively and the Trojans had the first points of the game thanks to a three-pointer by junior guard Maurice Horton. The Tar Heels remained scoreless for the first three minutes of the game. The Trojans led 9-4 after senior forward Sharome Holloway contributed five points.

Mount Olive showed some good hustle, diving for loose balls and fighting for rebounds. This was not enough to sustain the lead though. The Tar Heels went on a 17-0 run with around 13 minutes to play in the half.

The Tar Heels increased their lead to 37-15 around six minutes to play in the half and the score at halftime was 57-30. The Trojans shot 27.8 percent from the floor in the first half, compared to UNC's 52.9 percent. The best percentage for the Trojans came from the free throw line as they went 6 of 6. Mount Olive had 18 rebounds compared to UNC's 25 at the half.

The Trojans shot better from the field in the second half, including seven three-pointers. They attempted 30 three-pointers overall and made 11, or 36.7 percent. They shot 36.2 percent from the floor for the game and 66.7 percent from the free-throw line.

Elton Coffield led the Trojans with 21 points for the game, followed by Maurice Horton with 16. Holloway, who was coming off a double-double against UNC Wilmington, had 8 points. UNC was led by freshman Marvin Williams with 18 points and Sean May and Jawad Williams each contributed 15.

The Trojans had 28 turnovers for the game, but caused UNC to have 23. Clingan said that statistic shows something about Mount Olive's defense. He said the Trojans could not afford having that many turnovers against one of the best team's in America because they will convert them into points. In fact, UNC converted those 28 turnovers into 30 points.

Mount Olive students, some wearing "Mount Olive Maniac" shirts, cheered their team on until the end. The Trojans are picked second in their conference this year. Holloway said the Mount Olive crowd gave them a big confidence booster.

"They were behind us like we were winning," he said.

Holloway said he looked at the experience like it was just another game. He rated the team's performance as a seven, stating they could have been a little more patient on offense and taken better care of the ball. He said they did play a little better than they did at Wilmington.

Horton said the team had a few mental lapses and did shoot a lot of three pointers, which is uncharacteristic because they are usually more of a fastbreak team instead of just settling for the jump shot. He said they learned from playing UNC that they have to go hard all of the time.

"This was a great learning experience for us," he added.

UNC guard Melvin Scott said the Trojans' style was similar to what UNC faces in the Atlantic Coast Conference, where teams penetrate and kick the ball out.

"It was a great experience for us," added Scott. "I appreciate them coming to compete."

Tar Heel's head coach Roy Williams said Mount Olive is well-coached and he was impressed with their competitiveness, quickness and size.

The Heels did not have junior Rashad McCants due to a left shoulder injury. They also did not play guard Raymond Felton in the second half. Felton has been declared ineligible for the Santa Clara game for playing in a non-certified summer league. UNC appealed the decision, but did not win the appeal.

"He is extremely disappointed right now," said Williams. He said Felton and the rest of the UNC players have learned a valuable lesson to check with the coaches before they play in summer events.

Next up for Mount Olive is the Pickle Classic on Nov. 19-20. Horton said they will take the experience of playing UNC to their next contest and on down the line.

"We will definitely take a lot from this," he said.