01/28/05 — MOC men earn St. Andrews' respect

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MOC men earn St. Andrews' respect

By Neil Fuller
Published in Sports on January 28, 2005 1:56 PM

MOUNT OLIVE - The Mount Olive College men's basketball team was in search of a little respect Thursday night.

Picking up another win in Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference play was just the icing on the cake.

Senior center Sharome Holloway came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points as the Trojans -- still a bit miffed by their No. 6 ranking in the latest NCAA Division II East poll -- defeated St. Andrews 80-65 at College Hall.

"We have to step up if we're going to gain the respect that we need to in the region," Mount Olive coach Bill Clingan said. "We have to maintain at a championship level if we hope to stay on top of the conference standings. We must maintain our level of consistency and desire each night out. If we do, then good things are going to happen."

Elton Coffield hit four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points for the Trojans (14-2 overall, 8-1 CVAC), who were looking to keep pace with Pfeiffer University atop the conference standings.

Pfeiffer defeated Belmont Abbey 75-71 earlier in the night.

"The regional voters aren't giving us the respect we deserve, so we're just trying to go out and get that respect," Coffield said. "We feel good about ourselves and our chances. We don't plan to lose any more games."

St. Andrews (9-7, 3-6) made the trip without leading scorer David Truesdale (19.5 points per game), who was suffering from flu-like symptoms. The Knights never found a way to fill the void.

Mount Olive never trailed.

"That's 20 points we just left back on campus," St. Andrews coach Rob Perron said. "When you take 20 points out of the mix, it makes things rough -- especially on the road. The flu bug bit us pretty hard."

The Knights committed 28 turnovers to makes things even harder on themselves.

Holloway's lone 3-pointer capped a 13-4 first-half run. Junior guard Victor Young converted a Maurice Horton alley-oop pass into a dunk minutes later to give the Trojans a 41-24 lead.

Young finished with 13 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the field.

Mount Olive carried a 43-28 advantage into intermission - leaving the Trojans smelling blood.

The Knights shot a mere 34.6 percent (9 of 26) during the opening 20 minutes.

"There was a feeling that we had let St. Andrews hang around a bit in the first half," Holloway said. "We let them build a little confidence, so we were looking to knock that out of them."

Coffield would help put the finishing touches on St. Andrews' burial.

The sophomore guard hit two 3-pointers as part of a late 8-0 run that included a thunderous dunk by Elijah Rouse, who had 12 points and eight rebounds.

"You have to take care of your home court, and our guys understand that," Clingan said. "We've stressed all year that in order to compete for a conference championship, you have to take care of your home court."

Senior forward Will Livingston led the Knights with 17 points. It simply wasn't enough without Truesdale in the lineup.

And not nearly enough to counter a talented Mount Olive team looking to earn some respect before the next poll comes out -- all while working toward a CVAC regular-season title.

"We're still hungry," Holloway said. "The season is not over. We're just trying to hold the fort down here at home and pick up some wins on the road. We're confident, but we're not satisfied."

Notes: Mount Olive is 7-1 at home this season. ... Holloway had seven rebounds and two blocks. ... St. Andrews F Bryan Graves had 16 points and six rebounds. ... Mount Olive G Melvin Creddle dished out a game-high six assists. ... Mount Olive outrebounded St. Andrews 37-34.