Horton overcomes injury, Rouse has double-double
Published in Sports on January 14, 2005 1:56 PM
HARTSVILLE, S.C. -- Mount Olive entered Thursday's game at Coker in a three-way tie for second place in the NCAA Division II Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference men's basketball standings.
By the time the final horn sounded, the Trojans were in sole possession of first place.
Maurice Horton overcame a first-half injury to score a game-high 16 points and Elijah Rouse made the most of first start of the season with his first career double-double as Mount Olive outlasted Coker 75-64. The Trojans led for virtually all of the game, but the outcome remained in question until the final minutes.
Mount Olive (10-2, 4-1 CVAC) took a 9-3 lead after Horton connected on his first of three 3-pointers. His second 3-pointer with 17:34 left in the first half put the Trojans ahead to stay.
Mount Olive led by as many as eight points in the first half, but Coker (5-7, 3-2) hit five of its first 10 3-point attempts to stay within striking range. Johnny Jackson hit a pair of 3-pointers for the Cobras and Blake Hall's layup with 1:45 remaining in the half pulled Coker within 35-34. The Trojans went back up by three and Melvin Creddle hit 1 of 2 free throws with no time left on the clock to give Mount Olive a 40-36 lead at halftime.
The Trojans had a scary moment midway through the first half when Horton crashed hard to the floor while attempting a steal. Play was halted for several minutes while Horton was being attended to, but he was able to walk off the floor on his own power.
According to Mount Olive head athletic trainer Crystal Langston, Horton suffered a hyper-extended knee, but the injury wasn't nearly as serious as it first appeared. Horton returned to the floor late in the first half and went on to play 12 minutes in the second half. He's listed as probable for Saturday.
In the second half, Rouse's steal and layup, followed by Horton's fourth 3-pointer of the night, extended the Trojans' lead to seven, but a 9-2 run by Coker pulled the Cobras back within a field goal. Mount Olive built the lead back to eight, thanks in part to six consecutive free throws by Horton, Rouse and Moise Tchankeu.
The Trojans, who struggled from the line in Monday's loss to Pfeiffer, hit 9-of-11 free throws in the second half Thursday.
Coker trimmed the lead to six points, but the Trojans took their first double-digit lead after back-to-back putbacks by Rouse gave Mount Olive a 66-56 lead with 5:15 left in the game. Coker scored five unanswered points to cut the lead in half, but the Trojans answered with putbacks by Rouse and Tchankeu.
Victor Young's 3-pointer with 1:11 remaining gave Mount Olive a 12-point lead and sealed the win.
Rouse started Thursday in place of Chris Bartley, who missed the game due to a flu bug. Rouse established career highs with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Elton Coffield also finished with 13 points, while Young added 11 points.
Jackson led Coker with 14 points, while Hall added 11 points. Mount Olive won the battle of the boards, outrebounding Coker 38-26. The Trojans' victory snapped Coker's three-game win streak in conference play.
Coming into Thursday's play, Mount Olive and Coker joined Queens in a three-way tie for second place in the CVAC -- a half-game behind Pfeiffer. But Barton handed Pfeiffer its first conference loss of the season Thursday and Queens fell to Lees-McRae, giving the Trojans a half-game lead over Barton and Pfeiffer.
Mount Olive returns to action Saturday as the Trojans play host to Lees-McRae in a CVAC match-up. Tip-off is 4 p.m. at College Hall.
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