NO. 7 Mount Olive claims regional victory
Published in Sports on February 17, 2006 2:23 PM
BELMONT -- Elijah Rouse led all scorers with a career-high 23 points and Justin Melton made a steal and hit two free throws with 3.4 seconds left as regionally seventh-ranked Mount Olive defeated Belmont Abbey 75-72 in Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference men's basketball Thursday at Belmont.
The win moves the Trojans within one win of their third consecutive 20-win season.
Mount Olive (19-5 overall, 13-4 CVAC) scored the first eight points of the game as the Trojans held Belmont Abbey scoreless for almost three minutes. Belmont Abbey (9-14, 7-10) came back to tie the game 14-14 with 12:52 left in the half on Greg LaVann's second three-pointer of the game.
Maurice Horton's layup put the Trojans back on top, but Belmont Abbey scored the next nine points to take a 23-16 lead with 9:15 remaining. The Crusaders built the lead to as many as nine points before Elton Coffield's three-pointer with seven seconds remaining pulled the Trojans within 34-29 at halftime.
Free throws proved to be a factor in the first half as Belmont Abbey was 13-for-17 from the line, compared to 4-for-8 for Mount Olive. Damien Humphrey was 8-for-9 from the line in the first half.
Belmont Abbey more than doubled its first-half output from the first meeting between the two teams, in which the Crusaders were held to 15 points in the first half. Mount Olive went on to win 102-50.
Mount Olive regained the lead as Chris Holloway's layup put the Trojans on top 37-36 with 17:55 remaining. Victor Young of Mount Olive and Anthony Bell of Belmont Abbey traded three-pointers and the game was tied six times in a span of four minutes.
The game was tied 50-50 when Young triggered a 13-0 run and put Mount Olive ahead to stay in spectacular fashion, grabbing Chris Bartley's lob with one hand and putting home an alley-oop reverse slam dunk. Melvin Creddle stripped the ball on Belmont Abbey's ensuing possession and called timeout before a held ball was whistled.
Horton, Bartley and Holloway connected on short baskets and Creddle converted a pair of free throws to cap the run and give Mount Olive a 63-50 lead with 7:13 left in the game.
Mount Olive held Belmont Abbey scoreless for nearly seven minutes during the run, but Belmont Abbey cut the lead to single digits on LaVann's three-pointer with 5:09 remaining. After Coffield's basket extended the Trojans' lead to 10 points, Sidney Hoff's dunk triggered a 9-0 Belmont Abbey run and Humphrey's putback pulled the Crusaders within 67-66 with 2:40 remaining.
Rouse's layup put the Trojans back up by three, but Steve Williams hit a pair of free throws for Belmont Abbey with 1:58 remaining to cut the lead to one. Creddle then converted a three-point play to extend the Trojans' lead to 72-68 with 1:30 remaining.
Mount Olive still held a four-point lead with 28 seconds left, but Williams drew a foul on a three-point shot and hit 2-of-3 attempts to cut the Trojans' lead to two. Creddle was fouled immediately and hit 1-of-2 free throws, but LaVann hit a layup with 15 seconds left to pull Belmont Abbey within 73-72 with 15 seconds remaining.
Young was fouled with 12 seconds left, but had to come out of the game due to blood on the back of his left hand. Melton missed both free throws, but raced back on the defensive end, stripped the ball away and retrieved the loose ball. Melton was fouled with 3.4 seconds left and hit both free throws.
Belmont Abbey missed a long three-point attempt at the buzzer.
Rouse was 10-for-13 from the field and also finished with five rebounds and five steals. Young scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half, while Creddle scored eight of his 10 points in the second half. Creddle was whistled for three fouls in the first half and played only six minutes, but played all 20 minutes of the second half.
Mount Olive went 17-for-24 from the free throw line and finished 21-for-32. Belmont Abbey was 21-for-29 for the game.
LaVann led Belmont Abbey with 22 points, while Humphrey recorded a double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds.
Mount Olive returns to action Saturday as the Trojans travel to Due West, S.C., to take on Erskine in a CVAC matchup. Tipoff is 4 p.m.
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