02/12/06 — Trojans defense too much for Queens

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Trojans defense too much for Queens

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on February 12, 2006 2:29 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- After falling 95-90 to Queens back in late November in Charlotte and giving up the most points they have allowed in Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference this season, the Trojans threw a wrinkle in their defensive game plan in the rematch on Saturday.

It worked.

Using more zone defense than normal, Mount Olive held the Royals to just 17 points after intermission and pulled away in the second half to a 69-43 win at Kornegay Arena in a battle of regionally-ranked teams.

The win puts the Trojans, ranked seventh in the region, two games ahead of No. 8 Queens for second place in the CVAC standings. Now 12-1 at home, Mount Olive (17-5 overall) improved to 11-4 in league play with five games left before the conference tourney.

The Royals (15-7 overall) slipped to 9-6 in the CVAC.

"Our whole plan after the Barton game was to come in here and set a pace to keep us in second place," Mount Olive coach Bill Clingan said. "That would give us that first game at home and we would stay on the opposite side of the bracket from Barton in the conference tournament ... then take it one game at a time. A lot of our goals that we've set are still in front of us."

The 43 points allowed was the least the Trojans have given up since nearly one year ago, when coincidentally, they defeated Coker (S.C.) 68-43 at home.

The Trojans, who bounced back from a tough loss at home to archrival Barton, finished arguably their best defensive performance of this season with 19 steals, scoring 24 points off turnovers. Queens made just 17-of-49 shots (34.7 percent) overall and was 2-of-15 from behind the 3-point arch -- often settling for shots as Mount Olive cut off penetration and pass attempts inside.

Meanwhile, the Trojans bounced back from a chilly 11-of-27 (40.7 percent) effort from the floor in the first half to shoot a a torrid 16-of-24 (66.7 percent) after intermission.

Goldsboro graduate Victor Young, who finished with 15 points with 13 coming in the second half, was obviously pleased with his team's defensive effort.

"They were making everything when we went up there, but tonight we just tried to key on (Shamoni) Farley. We wanted to know where he was at all times in our zone," Young said. "We can hit a team from all angles ... we can zone, press and play man-to-man."

Offensive momentum was virtually non-existent for either squad in the first half as both teams struggled from the field and made sloppy passes in the frontcourt.

Mount Olive's largest lead came at 26-20 on a put-back by Chris Bartley with five minutes left in the half, but the Trojans would manage just one field goal the rest of the way and led by a slim 28-26 margin at the break.

"Coach came in at halftime and was real supportive and comforting to us," Young said. "We came out and let our defense dictate our offense."

The positive reinforcement seemed to pay off.

The Trojans continued to play solid zone defense, while mixing in pressure in the backcourt after made baskets, and jumped ahead by nine at 39-28, five minutes into the second half. During the next 10 minutes, Mount Olive outscored Queens 18-8 and took its largest lead of the game at 58-36 on an alley-oop pass from Creddle to Young, who slammed it home behind his back -- putting an exclamation point on a dominant second half.

"Nothing came easy tonight. We had to earn everything we got," Clingan said. "Little by little, we wore them down and got them out of their offense. I was proud of our offense at times. They played like we've practiced the last two days."

The dunk was uncharacteristically Mount Olive's only successful slam of the game. Also unlike the Trojans, they made just two 3-pointers -- more than five below their season average.

Creddle finished with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting and added seven rebounds. Elijah Rouse, Chris Bartley and Chuckie Jefferson scored eight points each and were key contributors in Mount Olive outscoring Queens 46-22 in the paint. Bartley pulled down a game-best 10 boards, while Rouse and Jefferson had seven and five, respectively.

Maurice Horton paced the backcourt defense with five steals as Rouse and Creddle had four steals apiece.

Chris Jones (14 points) and Kendrick Harris (12 points) were the lone offensive standouts for the cold-shooting Royals.

Mount Olive faces Coker on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

QUEENS (15-7, 9-6)

Chris Jones 5 1 1-2 14, Kendrick Harris 6 0 0-0 12, Timon Farley 0 2 0-0 6, Steven Imobersteg 0 1-2 1, Justin Qualley 0 0 2-2 2, Essau Eatman 3 0 2-6 8. TOTALS -- 14 3 6-12 43.

MOUNT OLIVE (17-5, 11-4)

Elijah Rouse 4 0 0-0 8, Chris Bartley 4 0 0-0 8, Maurice Horton 2 0 2-3 6, Victor Young 4 2 1-2 15, Melvin Creddle 7 0 4-7 18, Chuckie Jefferson 3 0 2-4 8, Chris Holloway 1 0 0-0 2, Elton Coffield 2 0 0-1 4. TOTALS -- 27 2 9-17 69.

Halftime -- MOC 28, Queens 26. 3-point goals -- Queens 3-14 (Jones 1-2, Faulkner 0-4, Farley 2-5, Imoberstag 0-2, Ester 0-1), MOC 2-15 (Bartley 0-1, Horton 0-2, Young 2-6, Creddle 0-3, Jones 0-1, Coffield 0-2). Rebounds -- Queens 28 (Eatman 9), MOC 39 (Bartley 10). Assists -- Queens 11 (Faulkner 5), MOC 14 (Rouse 5). Steals -- Queens 5 (Ester 2), MOC 19 (Horton 5). Blocks -- Queens 1 (Faulkner), MOC 6 (Jefferson 3). Turnovers -- Queens 28, MOC 22. Total fouls -- Queens 16, MOC 17. Fouled out -- none. Technical fouls -- none. A -- 405.