MOC men fall at Barton
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on January 10, 2006 2:24 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive's corps group of men's basketball players has overcame their fair share of sluggish first halves and erased plenty of second-half deficits over the past several seasons.
Barton College, still unbeaten in Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference play, held off any sort of Trojan comeback on Monday night in Wilson Gymnasium.
Nationally ninth-ranked Mount Olive pulled within three at 54-51 with 14 minutes left, only to see the Bulldogs answer with a 20-10 spurt over the next eight minutes to create enough separation to claim an 87-82 win.
Barton struggled from the free-throw line down the stretch, making just five of its last 14 to keep the door open for the Trojans, who extended the game by sending Barton to stripe, in the waning minutes.
Down 82-71 near the one-minute mark, Mount Olive would eventually get as close as 85-81 after an Elton Coffield 3-pointer with 19 seconds left, but the late run would prove too little, too late as the Bulldogs held on in front of a near-capacity crowd.
"Barton played a real energetic, hard-fought game, and we didn't play a very smart basketball game," Mount Olive coach Bill Clingan said. "A lot of things we like to do in our fundamental structure, we didn't carry them out. When that happens, they get easy baskets and some layups and we missed some awfully easy shots.
"We've got to go back to the drawing board and prepare for the next game."
The Trojans (9-3 overall) fell to 3-2 in the CVAC heading into Saturday's home contest with Erskine (S.C.). Barton (8-1 overall), which lost three times to Mount Olive last year, improved to 5-0 in league play and sits alone atop of the conference standings.
"We lost 10 games last year and they beat us three times," Barton coach Ron Lievense said. "One of our goals in the offseason was to do better against Mount Olive."
Bulldog point guard and Wilson Beddingfield product, Anthony Atkinson, finished with a game-best 27 points and six assists and was the lone Barton starter over 50 percent from the free-throw line -- making 8-of-11. The speedy Atkinson was key during the mid-second half run, posting several driving lay-ups and dishing out two assists to reserve center Brian Leggett, who came off the bench to score 16 points.
During that crucial stretch, Barton, which shot 64 percent from the field after intermission, built its biggest lead of the game at 78-64.
The Trojans never led in the second half and never got on track from behind the 3-point arc -- shooting just 5-of-22 (22.7 percent) on the game with two of those makes coming in the final minute.
Mount Olive finished with a 42 percent mark overall from the field, while the Bulldogs shot 52 percent.
"Our game plan was to get the ball inside and play inside-out ... penetrate, kick and try to get some inside scores. But, we missed so many lay-ups in the first half," Clingan said.
Senior point guard Melvin Creddle turned in a team-best 25 points with six assists and five steals with several key baskets during an 11-0 Mount Olive run late in the first half. The Trojans pulled within two at 33-31 after a 3-pointer off the glass by Creddle, but Barton countered with a 9-2 run to take a 40-35 lead into the locker room.
Barton's bench proved key to holding on to the first-half edge as starters Atkinson, Alejo Barovero and Bobby Buffaloe were all saddled with two fouls in the early stages of a physical first half of play.
Lievense praised the effort of Leggett and freshman reserve guard Errol Frails in giving the team a lift.
"Brian (Leggett) has incredible talent and we're trying to light a fire under him on a daily basis. I thought Errol Frails played his heart out against a good defensive team," Lievense said.
Despite an off shooting night, Coffield finished with 14 points, while teammate Chris Bartley also had 14 and Goldsboro graduate Victor Young added 13. On a night where Mount Olive was out-rebounded 45-38, Bartley paced the Trojans on the glass with seven boards.
Casey Moore contributed 19 points and 10 rebounds for Barton, while Barovero added 15 points and seven rebounds.
In the women's game, Barton (8-4, 4-1 CVAC) used a 13-0 run to break away from a five-point lead early in the second half and went on to defeat Mount Olive 64-43.
Trojans' senior forward Teneal Boone posted her sixth double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds, while guard Keona Corley added 10 points.
Mount Olive (7-5 overall) slipped to 2-3 in CVAC play and will try to snap a four-game slide at home on Saturday against Erskine (S.C.) Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. with the men's game to follow at 4 p.m.
COLLEGE (9-3, 3-2)
Melvin Creddle 10 1 2-4 25, Elton Coffield 3 1 5-6 14, Chris Bartley 3 2 2-2 14, Victor Young 4 0 5-6 13, Elijah Rouse 2 0 0-0 4, Maurice Horton 2 1 0-0 7, Paulius Dziugelis 0 0 1-2 1, Chris Holloway 1 0 0-0 2, Justin Melton 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 26 5 15-20 82.
BARTON COLLEGE (8-1, 5-0)
Anthony Atkinson 8 1 8-11 27, Casey Moore 6 0 7-14 19, Brian Leggett 6 1 2-7 16, Alejo Barovero 2 3 2-4 15, David King 2 0 0-0 4, Mark Friscone 1 0 2-2 4, Bobby McNeil 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 27 4 21-38 87.
Halftime -- Barton 40, Mount Olive 35. 3-point goals -- Mount Olive 5-22 (Horton 1-3, Young 0-3, Creddle 1-5, Melton 0-1, Coffield 1-6, Bartley 2-4), Barton 4-16 (Barovero 3-3, Moore 0-4, Buffaloe 0-1, Atkinson 1-3, Diggs 0-1, Coffer 0-1, Frails 0-1, McNeil 0-1, Legget 0-1). Rebounds -- Mount Olive 38 (Bartley 7), Barton 45 (Moore 10). Assists -- Mount Olive 15 (Creddle 6), Barton 14 (Atkinson 6). Blocked shots -- Mount Olive 6 (Rouse 3), Barton 3 (Leggett 2). Steals -- Mount Olive 6 (Creddle 5), Barton 2 (Norwood, Leggett). Turnovers -- Mount Olive 7, Barton 14.
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