Trojans travel to Pfeiffer for key CVAC men's showdown
Published in Sports on February 7, 2005 1:55 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Producers at ESPN must have seen the Mount Olive at Pfeiffer game on the schedule when they declared this week "Rivalry Week" in college basketball.
Few games at any level are as big as this one.
Winning streaks, first place in the conference standings, regional rankings and even national rankings are all on the line tonight as Mount Olive visits nationally-ranked Pfeiffer University in NCAA Division II Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference action.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Mount Olive (17-2, 11-1 CVAC) continued its best-ever start both overall and in conference play as the Trojans extended their winning streak to eight Saturday with a come-from-behind 83-73 victory at Erskine (S.C.) College.
Junior guard Elton Coffield scored all 12 of his second-half points during a 14-2 run that erased an 11-point deficit and put the Trojans ahead to stay in the final minutes. Mount Olive outscored Erskine 25-4 over the last eight minutes of the game.
Senior center Sharome Holloway scored 14 points Saturday for his sixth consecutive double-figure game. Holloway has averaged 20 points and 7.3 rebounds over his last six games. He shot 71 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line in the Trojans' three wins last week.
Coffield leads four players in double figures this season with 17.2 points per game. The Trojans have the fifth-highest scoring average in the nation, averaging 88.8 points per contest. During Mount Olive's current eight-game winning streak, seven of the wins have been by double digits.
Mount Olive has lost only one game since Thanksgiving weekend, winning 15 of its last 16 games. The Trojans' lone defeat was a 114-92 loss to Pfeiffer at College Hall on Jan. 10.
Pfeiffer shot 54.0 percent from the field and went 16-for-28 from 3-point range. Chris Bartley scored a career-high 26 points for the Trojans, but Holloway got in early foul trouble and was held scoreless.
Pfeiffer (15-3, 11-1) also comes into tonight's contest with an eight-game winning streak after defeating Queens 87-79 Saturday. DeMario Grier scored 22 points, while Damien Argett added 20 points for the Falcons. Pfeiffer lost to Barton three days after defeating the Trojans, but has not lost since.
Tonight's game notwithstanding, both Mount Olive and Pfeiffer could benefit from the results of last week's regional games in this week's NCAA II East Region rankings.
Top-ranked Edinboro (Pa.) went 1-1 last week and No. 3 Shippensburg (Pa.) suffered a pair of double-digit losses, while No. 4 West Virginia State won a pair of games over sub-.500 teams by a combined three points.
Mount Olive also hopes to get recognition again in the NABC Division II Top 25 national poll. The Trojans were the 32nd-highest vote-getter in the poll three weeks ago, but have not received any votes in the poll each of the last two weeks, despite going undefeated during that time.
The national poll will be announced Tuesday, while the regional poll comes out Wednesday.
Mount Olive has won only one of the last five meetings against Pfeiffer, dating back to the first round of the 2003 CVAC Tournament. The Trojans' lone win during that time was last year's 108-105 victory on Marcus West?s 80-footer at the buzzer.
Notes: Head coach Bill Clingan did not make the trip to Erskine Saturday due to a bout with a flu bug. ... Assistant coach Joey Higginbotham coached the Trojans against Erskine. ... Clingan is expected to return to the coaching box tonight. ... Pfeiffer leads the nation in points per game. ... Mount Olive has the highest overall winning percentage of any team in the CVAC.
Will skid continue?
The Mount Olive College women's basketball team is riding two streaks heading into tonight's game at Pfeiffer. The Trojans hope to end one streak and keep another streak going.
Tip-off is 5:30 p.m.
Mount Olive (8-10, 6-6 CVAC) suffered its sixth consecutive loss Saturday, falling 68-46 at Erskine (S.C.) College. Senior forward Latoria Harvey recorded her eighth double-double of the year with 13 points and 12 rebounds, despite continuing to fight a flu bug that kept her out of Thursday?s game against Barton.
The Trojans struggled from the field Saturday, hitting only 17-of-71 field goal attempts.
Three weeks ago, Mount Olive was in sole possession of first place in the CVAC standings with a 6-0 record. But the ball hasn't bounced the Trojans' way lately, suffering a buzzer-beater loss and three other losses that were decided in the final minute.
Pfeiffer (4-14, 4-8) is coming off an 82-62 win over Queens Saturday. Sarah Reese went 6-for-11 from 3-point range and led four players in double figures with 18 points. Pfeiffer is 3-4 in its last seven games, including a 79-52 upset two weeks ago over second-place Belmont Abbey.
Mount Olive has won each of the last four meetings against Pfeiffer, including a 78-69 win at Misenheimer last year. The Trojans defeated Pfeiffer 77-62 four weeks ago at College Hall as Harvey scored a career-high 33 points and pulled down nine rebounds.
An audio webcast of tonight's men's and women's basketball games is available on the Mount Olive College athletics website at www.moc.edu/athletics.
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