02/11/05 — MOC men blast visiting Coker

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MOC men blast visiting Coker

By Neil Fuller
Published in Sports on February 11, 2005 2:06 PM

MOUNT OLIVE - This was precisely how Mount Olive College men's basketball coach Bill Clingan hoped his team would respond after losing only its third game of the season -- and a share of the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference lead -- earlier in the week.

The Trojans simply put it behind them.

Elton Coffield came off the bench to score a game-high 27 points and lead Mount Olive back into the win column Thursday night with a 68-43 rout of Coker at College Hall.

The Trojans (18-3 overall, 12-2 CVAC) fell out a first-place tie in the conference standings on Monday night after dropping a 99-78 decision at front-running Pfeiffer University.

"We had talked the last couple days about closing the books (on the Pfeiffer game) and moving on," Clingan said. "There was nothing we could do except look toward the future."

The immediate future includes life without Maurice Horton.

The junior guard suffered a shoulder injury during practice on Wednesday that kept him -- and his 12.4 points per game -- out of the lineup against the Cobras.

Clingan expects Horton to return at some point next week.

"I was concerned about coming into this one without one of our heart-and-soul guys on the court," Clingan said. "Maurice brings so much to the table for us. Far above Maurice Horton's scoring average, he's the heart and soul of this team.

"With him out, we had to overcome a lack of chemistry."

Coffield and 21 Coker turnovers helped ease any and all concerns.

Behind 11 points from Coffield, Mount Olive reeled off a 21-3 first-half run to take control. The Cobras (6-14, 4-9) could offer no answer.

The Trojans, ranked second in the latest NCAA Division II East Region poll, led 35-23 at halftime.

Coffield finished 8-of-12 from the field with four 3-pointers.

"There is no doubt how explosive Elton Coffield is from an offensive standpoint," Clingan said. "He's just a scorer. When he hits those 3-pointers, it definitely inspires our team. It gives them quick energy on the defensive end."

Coker shot a mere 28 percent (7-of-25) from the field during the second half and found themselves outrebounded 42-30 -- eliminating any chance of a comeback or a split in the season series.

Mount Olive claimed a 75-64 win at Coker on Jan. 13.

Melvin Creddle scored 11 points, and Sharome Holloway added 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds for the Trojans in the rematch.

Holloway converted a 3-point play four minutes into the first half to give Mount Olive its first lead at 6-5. The Cobras would trail the remainder of the game.

"I was just real disappointed in how we approached this game. I didn't think we had any passion," Coker coach Dan Schmotzer said. "I've been coming to this place for 20 years now, so I have an idea of what you're supposed to do. It just wasn't there tonight.

"Coffield did what he's supposed to do, he's good. But it's more than that. Mount Olive is just so athletic. If it wasn't for Pfeiffer, they'd probably be ranked No. 1 in the nation."

Junior guard Jason Fulwood led Coker with 13 points.

The Trojans now face a brutal stretch of their schedule -- beginning Saturday at Lees-McRae -- that includes four games in eight days with only one home date to be found.

"It's very difficult," Clingan said. "We had seven games left starting tonight with this one against Coker. We're just going to play them one at a time. It's an extremely tough stretch."

Notes: Mount Olive has won five straight at home. ... Mount Olive shot 40 percent (20-of-50) from the field. ... Mount Olive F Elijah Rouse had nine points, six rebounds and three assists. ... Coker F Johnny Jackson scored 10 points. ... 355 were in attendance.