12/16/05 — The Trojans are coming

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The Trojans are coming

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on December 16, 2005 2:16 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- After a convincing 89-62 win over Chowan College on Thursday night at Kornegay Arena, it's hard to say exactly which aspect of the game pleased 16-year Mount Olive coach Bill Clingan most.

His starters and key contributors were dominant on both ends of the floor during a 36-7 run that covered nearly a 10-minute stretch late in the first half and early in the second. Mount Olive's leading scorer, Elton Coffield, bounced back from a two-point performance on Wednesday against St. Andrew's and finished with a game-high 17 points. All of the junior guard's points came before intermission and 12 came during the final eight minutes of the first.

"Tonight was a big confidence booster, and that run was our coming-out party," Coffield said. "We want to show everyone we're coming in the second semester."

Clingan's reserves gave him solid minutes in the second half, and 10th-ranked Mount Olive actually took its biggest lead of the game at 87-52 with five substitutes on the floor after back-to-back 3-pointers by Kinston graduate Montel Jones late in the game.

On top of that, the Trojans (7-1) will enter their Christmas break with momentum and confidence as they now have 18 days off before they travel to Institute, W. Va. to compete in the West Virginia State University Classic to take on a couple of solid Division II foes -- Charleston (W. Va.) and 11th-ranked West Virginia State on Jan. 3 and 4.

"We've got two huge games in West Virginia," Clingan said. "Charleston has six Division I transfers and three JUCO transfers. West Virginia State is ranked 11th and the tournament will be in their gym with adverse conditions."

Besides an 11-3 run in the middle stages of the first half, Mount Olive got out of the gate somewhat sluggish and led the Braves just 24-23 with 8:30 left in the first.

From there, the Trojans used pressure defense to create a multitude of turnovers, mostly near midcourt, and converted those steals into easy hoops on the other end. Chowan finished with 27 turnovers on the game as Mount Olive finished with 34 points off of those miscues. The Trojans had 21 steals with Goldsboro graduate Victor Young providing four steals and three more players swiping three steals each.

In the midst of the first-half run, Mount Olive knocked down three, 3-pointers, including two by Coffield, and had two alley-oop dunks -- one from Maurice Horton to Young and the other from Melvin Creddle to Horton. Horton's slam made it 54-30 near the one-minute mark, while Creddle added two makes from the free-throw line to finish out first half scoring at 56-30.

"All that starts with our defense. The defense fuels our offense," Coffield said. "It starts the breaks, the dunks ... it keys everything."

Chowan's ball-handling improved in the early stages of the second half, but the Braves never got any closer than 20 after intermission.

Antoine Green (10 points, five rebounds), Chuckie Jefferson (eight points, five rebounds), Justin Melton (three assists, three steals) and Jones (six points) turned in solid efforts off the bench for the Trojans in the second half as their lead was never in doubt.

"Those guys are getting great experience and their approach to game gets better and better," Clingan said.

Young added 16 points for the Trojans, while Horton contributed 14 points and five assists and Elijah Rouse added 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Chowan, playing without key contributor Isaac McCall (injury), got 15 points from Trayvon Lathan and 14 points from Marcus Artis. The Braves fell to 3-6 on the season heading into Saturday's contest at St. Paul's (Va.).

Clingan did offer one negative factor about the evening -- the crowd size. The non-conference contest was played in front of a sparse crowd as Mount Olive's students are out for Christmas break.

"I'm disappointed with the crowd. People in Wayne County and this area don't know the entertainment they are missing by not coming to these games," he said.

Notes: Since the renaming of Kornegay Arena in August, Mount Olive's indoor sports teams -- men's basketball, women's basketball and women's volleyball -- are a combined 19-0 at home ... The Trojans have now won 14 straight at home dating back to Jan. 10 of last season ... Mount Olive also defeated Chowan in November in the finals of the Pickle Classic.

CHOWAN (3-6)

Trayvon Lathan 4 0 7-10 15, Marcus Artis 5 0 4-5 14, Jon Dyer 3 0 2-4 8, Chris Owen 1 0 0-0 2, Montino Williams 3 1 2-2 11, Chris Kenon 1 0 0-0 2, Robert Sullivan 1 0 2-2 4, Roderick Ramsey 1 0 0-0 2, Wayne Hambrick 2 0 0-2 4. TOTALS -- 21 1 17-25 62.


Elijah Rouse 3 0 4-4 10, Chris Bartley 1 0 0-0 2, Maurice Horton 3 2 2-2 14, Victor Young 5 1 3-3 16, Melvin Creddle 0 0 2-2 2, Chuckie Jefferson 4 0 0-0 8, Montel Jones 0 2 0-0 6, Chris Holloway 1 0 0-0 2, Justin Melton 0 0 2-2 2, Elton Coffield 3 3 2-2 17, Antoine Griffin 5 0 0-0 10. TOTALS -- 25 8 15-15 89.

Halftime -- Mount Olive 56-30. 3-point goals -- Chowan 1-9 (Artis 0-1, Owen 0-2, Williams 1-2, Kenon 0-2, Miller 0-2), Mount Olive 8-26 (Horton 2-7, Young 1-4, Creddle 0-1, Dziugelis 0-1, Jefferson 0-2, Jones 2-4, Coffield 3-7). Rebounds -- Chowan 30 (Dyer 6), Mount Olive 33 (Rouse 5, Jefferson 5, Griffin 5). Assists -- Chowan 13 (Lathan 3, Sullivan 3), Mount Olive 23 (Horton 5). Turnovers -- Chowan 27, Mount Olive 12. Blocked shots -- Chowan 4 (Dyer 2), Mount Olive 0. Steals -- Chowan 10 (Artis 2, Dyer 2, Sullivan 2), Mount Olive 21 (Young 4). Total fouls -- Chowan 13, Mount Olive 17. Fouled out -- none. Technical fouls -- none.