03/12/06 — Trojans battle back

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Trojans battle back

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 12, 2006 2:27 AM

WILSON -- Down by 16 early in the second half, Mount Olive College point guard Maurice Horton and 6-foot-8 Shippensburg center Seth Scott battled for a rebound under the Trojans' basket. The two collided and Horton landed awkwardly on his back.

Horton squirmed in pain on the court and held his lower back as a trainer attended to him near the MOC bench. His teammates anxiously watched from the huddle and took a huge, collective deep breath when Horton -- obviously woozy from the contact -- walked under his own power toward the end of the bench.

"I do think that woke us up a little bit ... turned the switch on at that point in time," said Mount Olive head coach Bill Clingan.

Once play resumed, the Trojans immediately picked up their intensity level.

Mount Olive (25-6) pecked away at the double-digit deficit and eventually moved ahead on clutch outside shooting as time agonizingly ticked away in a sultry Wilson Gymnasium. Elijah Rouse drained two pressure-packed free throws with 3.9 seconds to go and lifted the Trojans to an 86-83 victory over Shippensburg (Pa.) University in their NCAA Division II East Regional contest Saturday evening.

Ranked No. 25 in the final NABC Division II Top 25 poll, Mount Olive gets a welcomed day of rest thanks to an equipment problem that occurred in the Barton-Wheeling Jesuit (W. Va.) game. A backboard shattered during the first half with the game tied at 25-25. The regional director suspended play and said the teams will resume action today at 7 p.m.

The semifinal-round games have been moved to Monday.

"Crazy," said Clingan.

Nothing could have been more crazy than the Trojans' first-half performance. Clingan's squad looked sluggish on numerous possessions and struggled to find any rhythm offensively.

Shippensburg, ranked No. 18 nationally, controlled the boards in the opening half. The Red Raiders outrebounded the Trojans 19-14 and played disciplined in their man-to-man defensive scheme. Horton experienced trouble penetrating against the Red Raiders, who overplayed the passing lanes and denied shots underneath the basket.

"At first, we wanted to dictate the tempo and it didn't turn out in our favor," admitted MOC senior guard Victor Young, one of five Trojans in double figures with 18 points.

Shippensburg led 39-30 at halftime and scored the first seven points of the second half.

"(Big leads) aren't safe, especially against a team like Mount Olive," said Shippensburg coach Dave Springer. "We told them at halftime that this team is going to come after you with more aggression in the second half, and they did.

"Their point guard did a great job of pushing the ball into the middle of the paint and creating some offense for them. He wasn't doing that in the first half ... wasn't as aggressive."

Melvin Creddle, Chris Bartley, Elton Coffield and Young each hit a basket as Mount Olive pulled within 48-40. The Red Raiders kept a two-possession lead during the next few minutes until the Trojans put together a 10-2 run. Horton, who scored 13 points, and Coffield capped the run with a 3-pointer and free throw, respectively.

The game was tied at 61-61.

The teams worked through several ties and lead changes with the last deadlock occurring at 72-72. Creddle and Young sparked a 7-0 run which gave the fifth-seeded Trojans their biggest lead -- 79-72 -- with 1:56 left in regulation.

The fourth-seeded Red Raiders (24-7) pulled within 81-80 and gained possession on a turnover. But the savvy Horton picked Chuck Davis clean near midcourt and converted an uncontested layup to make it 83-80.

"Maurice doesn't get a lot of recognition, but by far he is our team MVP," said Creddle, who pumped in 21 points. "He's our leader and does all the things that the statbook doesn't show night in and out."

Shippensburg had one more chance to force another tie. Creddle blocked Todd Johnson from behind and the ball bounced off Johnson out of bounds.

"That was just a lucky play right there," grinned Creddle. "To be honest, I was trying to foul him. Thank God it went our way."

Young hit one free throw and the Red Raiders' Marcus Hudson responded with a 3-pointer to make it 84-83 with 5.5 seconds left in regulation. Rouse immediately drew a foul on the inbounds pass and helped the Trojans claim their fourth consecutive East Regional win.

2006 NCAA Division II

Men's East Regional

Basketball Tournament

(at Barton College, Wilson)


Greg Wojdowski 2 0 0-0 4, Seth Scott 4 0 1-1 9, Chuck Davis 6 2 3-4 21, Marcus Hudson 1 3 4-6 15, Ryan Craft 2 4 0-0 16, Malik Parker 0 0 2-4 2, Todd Johnson 4 0 4-4 12, Khalil Abdus-Salaam 0 0 0-0 0, Gary Vaincoeur 1 0 2-2 4. TOTALS -- 20 9 16-21 83.


Elijah Rouse 1 0 4-6 6, Chris Bartley 5 1 0-3 13, Maurice Horton 5 1 0-0 13, Victor Young 4 2 4-5 18, Melvin Creddle 5 1 8-8 21, Montel Jones 0 0 0-0 0, Chris Holloway 0 0 3-4 3, Justin Melton 0 0 0-0 0, Elton Coffield 4 1 1-2 12. TOTALS -- 24 6 20-28 86.

Halftime -- Shippensburg 39, Mount Olive 30. 3-point goals -- Shippensburg 9-20, Mount Olive 6-18. Rebounds -- Shippensburg 29 (Scott 6), Mount Olive 37 (Creddle, Bartley 6). Assists -- Shippensburg 16 (Parker 5), Mount Olive 14. Turnovers -- Shippensburg 14, Mount Olive 15. Blocked shots -- Shippensburg 4, Mount Olive 3. Steals -- Shippensburg 7 (Hudson 3), Mount Olive 8 (Creddle 3).