01/18/05 — Front-running MOC men move to 6-1 in league

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Front-running MOC men move to 6-1 in league

By Neil Fuller
Published in Sports on January 18, 2005 1:55 PM

MOUNT OLIVE - This one wasn't always pretty. In fact, there were times when it was downright ugly.

But by the end, the Mount Olive College men's basketball team had done more than enough to stay on top of the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference.

The Trojans overcame a sluggish first half -- one that saw Belmont Abbey forward Damien Humphrey put up 15 points -- to claim a 73-52 win Monday night at College Hall.

Mount Olive, ranked No. 10 in the latest NCAA Division II East Region poll, shot 68.2 percent (15 of 22) from the floor during the second half in easing to 6-1 in CVAC play.

The Trojans (12-2 overall) have now won three straight.

"I'm very proud of this team," Mount Olive coach Bill Clingan said. "I'm very proud of the way my players work. They give it all they've got, which isn't any easy thing to do from one night to the next in this league."

Senior center Sharome Holloway certainly came out ready to work against the Crusaders (3-10 overall, 2-5 CVAC). The 6-foot-8, 205-pound product of South Mountain (Ariz.) Community College led Mount Olive with 17 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.

Holloway recorded 11 of the Trojans' 19 first-half rebounds as he led his team into the break with a 31-21 lead.

"I haven't been playing the way I know I can," Holloway said. "I just knew that I needed to step up. I wanted to help my teammates. This is the kind of team where each player helps hold the other players together."

As Holloway was pounding the boards, Humphrey was helping underdog Belmont Abbey stay with the Trojans, making 7 of 11 field-goal attempts during the opening 20 minutes.

Humphrey finished with a game-high 19 points.

Rafael Moreira's steal at midcourt and ensuing layup gave the Crusaders a 14-13 lead with just under 12 minutes remaining in the first half. Alas, the upset wasn't to be.

Mount Olive answered with a 16-3 run. The lone Belmont Abbey field goal during the blitz was a 3 courtesy of Humphrey.

"We don't have the depth or athleticism of a Mount Olive," Belmont Abbey coach Dale Kuhl said. "We needed to limit them to one shot, then go down in the halfcourt and run our stuff. That didn't happen. When we don't get stops, that takes away a huge chunk of what we need to do."

Thanks to some hot-handed shooting after intermission, the Trojans would not be threatened again.

"Belmont Abbey has some outstanding personnel," Clingan said. "Their record is not at all indicative of the kind of team they have. Our team had to endure tonight. We had to show some grit."

Elton Coffield, Melvin Creddle and Maurice Horton scored 10 each for Mount Olive, which travels to CVAC foe Anderson College on Saturday.

Notes: The 73 points were Mount Olive's third-lowest total of the season. ... Mount Olive's Victor Young had nine points, four assists and a game-high five steals. ... Mount Olive committed 22 turnovers. ... Belmont Abbey's Greg LaVann scored 11 points. ... Mount Olive outrebounded Belmont Abbey 36-35. ... Mount Olive was 1-of-8 from behind the 3-point arc in the first half. ... Belmont Abbey shot 33.3 percent (21 of 63) from the floor. ... Mount Olive's Elijah Rouse fell short in his quest for a third straight double-double, finishing with nine points, two rebounds and two assists in 23 minutes of action. ... Holloway handed out four assists. ... Attendance was 305.