11/11/05 — Mount Olive face N.C. State in exhibition game tonight

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Mount Olive face N.C. State in exhibition game tonight

Published in Sports on November 11, 2005 1:47 PM

After much preseason attention, including two national top 10 rankings, the Mount Olive men's basketball team got a wake-up call last week at UNC-Wilmington. Tonight, the Trojans hope that a week of their toughest practices of the preseason pay off.

Mount Olive plays its final exhibition game of the preseason tonight as the Trojans travel to Raleigh to take on Atlantic Coast Conference member North Carolina State. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m. at RBC Center.

General admission tickets are available at the door for $10. For those unable to attend in person, a live Audio Webcast will be available at www.moc.edu/athletics.

Mount Olive is ranked No. 5 in Street and Smith's Magazine's Preseason Division II Top 10 and No. 7 in Division II Bulletin's Preseason Top 25. The Trojans are coming off their first-ever appearance in the NCAA II Elite Eight.

Last weekend at Division I UNC-Wilmington, the Trojans fell behind midway through the first half and never recovered in a 103-58 loss. Maurice Horton led three Trojans in double figures with 15 points. Victor Young added 13 points and Elton Coffield finished with 10 points.

Mount Olive returns four starters from last year's squad: senior guards Horton, Young and Melvin Creddle, and junior forward Elijah Rouse. Coffield, who Street and Smith's referred to as "perhaps the best sixth man in the nation," will continue to come off the bench.

Last year, Coffield had a breakout game in an exhibition against University of North Carolina, scoring 16 of his game-high 21 points in the second half. The Trojans fell 100-69, but the game helped set the tone for the season. Head coach Bill Clingan hopes this year's exhibition games have the same effect.

"We aren't going to face any better teams this season than N.C. State and UNC-Wilmington," said Clingan. "Getting to play in that kind of atmosphere is a great experience for the kids. And nothing but positive things can come from playing teams of that caliber."

N.C. State defeated University of Guelph (Canada) in an exhibition game last week. The Wolfpack return three starters from last year's 21-14 squad which advanced to the NCAA "Sweet 16." N.C. State loses Julius Hodge, but returns two All-ACC players and a highly-touted freshman class.

Tonight's game is the Trojans' final exhibition before beginning regular season play next weekend. Mount Olive plays host to the 40th Pickle Classic next Friday and Saturday.