01/29/06 — Hot-shooting Trojan men throttle Limestone (S.C.) College

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Hot-shooting Trojan men throttle Limestone (S.C.) College

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on January 29, 2006 2:18 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive's men's basketball team picked a good game to put on its most efficient -- and spectacular -- performance of the season.

On its 23rd Annual Church Night in front of a packed house at Kornegay Arena, the 18th-ranked Trojans shot a season-best 65.1 percent from the floor and gave the overflow crowd plenty of reason to cheer with a handful of dazzling dunks in a 97-82 win over Limestone (S.C.) College.

After rolling out to a 63-35 lead at the half behind an eye-popping 77.1 percent shooting effort (27-of-35), the Trojans came out of intermission with a few "tricks" up their sleeve.

Within the first 3:30 of the second half, Victor Young slammed home a reverse dunk on an alley-oop from Chris Bartley, then Melvin Creddle scooped a pass on the run under his right leg to Maurice Horton for another "oop." Before the stunning start to the half was over, Horton bounced a pass off the backboard to Young, who finished home Mount Olive's fifth and final dunk of the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference contest.

"If I was a fan tonight, I would be coming back to watch us play," 16-year Mount Olive coach Bill Clingan said. "Tremendous performance by a lot of people. They wanted to come out and play well, because they knew there would be a lot of people out there.

"Everyone got their money's worth tonight."

The early spurt put Mount Olive (15-3, 9-2) ahead by 30 with 15 minutes left as Clingan was able to get plenty of minutes out of his bench the rest of the way. By the end of the game, all but one Trojan scored and 10 had four or more points. Mount Olive also finished with 27 total assists on the game, led by Creddle with six. Seven players had at least two assists in a balanced effort.

Junior forward Elijah Rouse was the beneficiary of plenty of good passes in the first half as he finished with all 18 of his points before intermission on eight-of-nine shooting. Rouse consistently took good feeds, both over the top of the defense and in the open court, and turned them into easy baskets underneath.

The Trojans finished with 54 points in the paint.

"Our coaches have been stressing a lot to get the ball inside more," Rouse said. "Most of the time we go inside-out, we have a good game. To be able to play with this group of guards is great."

Limestone (7-11, 5-6) was able to stay close with the Trojans in the early going -- still trailing by as little as seven at 20-13 with 14:19 left after a basket by Marquintas Jones, who had a team-best 17 points.

From there, the half and the game simply belonged to the home team.

With stellar shooting inside and out, the Trojans went on a 23-3 run in just over six minutes of play in the middle of the first half. Reserve guard Justin Melton capped the huge spurt with an old-fashioned three-point play to make it 43-16 with 8:12 left in the first.

Mount Olive's Chris Bartley was nearly perfect in the first half from behind the 3-point line, making four-of-five from long range on his way to a 12-point effort. Bartley was far from alone in the hot-shooting effort. Six Mount Olive players took five or more shots on the game and only one missed more than two of their attempts.

Young contributed 16 points on seven-of-nine shooting, while Elton Coffield dropped in 13 points, making six of seven.

Mount Olive swiped 10 steals and finished with 24 points off turnovers, compared to just 10 for the Saints.

"Our guys were very focused. They played very well as a team," Clingan said. "They came out with that enthusiasm and energy. There were a lot of crowd pleasing plays, but it all came out of their good defense."

The Trojans, who won their sixth straight overall and 19th in a row at home dating back to last season, were still shooting 70 percent from the field with four minutes left in the game before several misses down the stretch.

Mount Olive travels to Laurinburg to face St. Andrews on Monday.

LIMESTONE (7-11, 5-6)

Marquis Bell 3 0 2-4 8, Jamaal Dawkins 1 0 0-0 2, Shawn Poppie 5 1 2-2 15, Terrell Smith 2 0 0-0 4, Marquintas Jones 6 0 5-10 17, Jereme Schmotzer 1 0 0-0 2, Alex Bailey 0 3 0-0 9, Andre Coleman 1 1 4-4 9, Colin Pond 4 0 2-2 10, Sumner Benton 2 0 2-5 6. TOTALS -- 25 5 17-27 82.

MOUNT OLIVE (15-3, 9-2)

Elijah Rouse 8 0 2-2 18, Chris Bartley 0 4 0-0 12, Maurice Horton 3 0 0-0 6, Victor Young 6 1 1-2 16, Melvin Creddle 2 0 0-0 4, Paulius Dziugelis 1 0 0-0 2, Chuckie Jefferson 1 0 1-2 3, Montel Jones 3 0 1-2 7, Chris Holloway 3 0 0-0 6, Justin Melton 2 0 1-1 5, Elton Coffield 5 1 0-0 13, Antoine Griffin 1 0 3-4 5. TOTALS -- 35 6 9-13 97.

Halftime -- MOC 63, LC 35. 3-point goals -- LC 5-11 (Bell 0-1, Poppie 1-2, Smith 0-1, Bailey 3-4, Coleman 1-3), MOC 6-15 (Bartley 4-5, Young 1-1, Creddle 0-2, Dziugelis 0-2, Jones 0-2, Melton 0-1, Coffield 1-2). Rebounds -- LC 31 (Pond 7), MOC 27 (Rouse 5, Melton 5). Assists -- LC 17 (Schmotzer 4, Bailey 4), MOC 27 (Creddle 6). Steals -- LC 4 (Poppie 2), MOC 10 (Creddle 3). Blocks -- LC 2 (Smith, Pond), MOC 3 (Rouse, Bartley, Griffin). Turnovers -- LC 16, MOC 12. Total fouls -- LC 14, MOC 23. Fouled out -- none. Technical fouls -- Rouse (MOC).