02/15/05 — MOC win pick up 20th win, regain share of CVAC lead

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MOC win pick up 20th win, regain share of CVAC lead

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on February 15, 2005 1:55 PM

BELMONT - The magic number for the Mount Olive College men's basketball team Monday night was 20 -- as in 20 points and 20 wins.

Regionally second-ranked Mount Olive scored 20 unanswered points over a span of nine minutes to rally from a seven-point deficit and the Trojans went on to defeat Belmont Abbey 74-59 in Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference men's basketball Monday at Belmont.

With the win, Mount Olive reaches the 20-win mark for the second consecutive year, marking the first time in school history the Trojans have recorded back-to-back 20-win seasons. The victory also marks the fastest the Trojans have reached 20 wins.

The win, combined with other results in the conference, had added significance for the Trojans in the CVAC standings. Mount Olive moved into a first-place tie with Pfeiffer, which was upset 108-105 at Limestone.

The Trojans are also assured of a top-two finish in the CVAC regular-season standings after third-place Barton lost to Queens Monday. Mount Olive earns a first-round bye and will play host to a quarterfinal-round game in the CVAC Tournament, which gets underway in two weeks.

Mount Olive (20-3 overall, 14-2 CVAC) fell behind 11-3 barely two minutes into the contest as Belmont Abbey (9-15, 8-9) connected on each of its first three-point attempts. After a Mount Olive timeout, Sharome Holloway drew a foul and hit both free throws to ignite an 11-0 run and give the Trojans their first lead of the game.

Holloway, who tallied 17 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in the season's first meeting against Belmont Abbey, had six points and five rebounds before having to go to the bench with his second foul midway through the first half.

Belmont Abbey's Damien Humphrey scored 12 of Belmont Abbey's first 22 points, including a 3-pointer to give the Crusaders a 22-20 lead with 7:56 left before halftime. After Plinio Broering hit a pair of free throws to tie the game, Belmont Abbey scored seven unanswered points to take a 29-22 lead with 4:56 left in the half. The Crusaders would not score again until the second half.

Melvin Creddle hit a 3-pointer and Broering and Elton Coffield combined for four consecutive free throws to knot the game at 29-29. Creddle hit a layup with 47 seconds remaining and Coffield hit two more free throws 18 seconds left as the Trojans scored the last 11 points of the first half to take a 33-29 halftime lead. Creddle, who scored a career-high 28 points Saturday at Lees-McRae, had 12 points in the first half.

The Trojans continued the run after the break as Holloway hit 2-of-4 free throws in the first minute of the second half and Victor Young hit a three-pointer to extend Mount Olive's lead to nine. Coffield hit a short jumper and Young converted a driving layup with 16:58 remaining to complete a 20-0 run and give the Trojans a 42-29 lead.

Coffield scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, while Young scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half. Creddle finished with 13 points and Holloway posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Humphrey led all scorers with 25 points.

After being held to 31.3 percent (10-for-31) shooting in the first half, Mount Olive went 14-for-19 from the field in the second half for 73.7 percent. The Trojans were 22-for-28 from the free throw line and outrebounded Belmont Abbey 41-29.

On the trip home, the Mount Olive basketball team was excited after hearing the news of Pfeiffer's loss at Limestone. But head coach Bill Clingan was quick to remind his squad who's the Trojans' next opponent - Limestone.

"Now we have to take care of business Thursday night," Clingan told his team.

Mount Olive travels to Gaffney, S.C., Thursday to face Limestone. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.