03/13/06 — Mount Olive vs. Barton, Part IV

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Mount Olive vs. Barton, Part IV

By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on March 13, 2006 2:38 PM

MOC Sports Information

BARTON -- Last Saturday, the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference championship was the prize. Tonight, the stakes are the highest they've ever been in the history of the Mount Olive-Barton rivalry -- the NCAA Division II "Sweet 16."

No. 5 seed Mount Olive takes on top-seeded and tournament host Barton today in the semifinal round of the East Regional of the 2006 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Championship.

Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. at Wilson Gym.

Mount Olive is ranked No. 25 in the NABC Division II Top 25, while Barton is ranked No. 9. The game is the Trojans' second in a row in the regional against a top 25 team. Mount Olive (25-6) advanced to the semifinals with a heart-stopping 86-83 victory Shippensburg on Saturday. Melvin Creddle scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half as the Trojans erased a 16-point deficit. Victor Young scored 18 points, his fifth consecutive NCAA II Tournament game in double figures.

The win improved Mount Olive's all-time NCAA II Tournament record to 4-2. The Trojans won last year's East Regional.

Saturday's win was also Mount Olive's ninth in its last 10 games. The Trojans' lone defeat in that stretch was a 102-100 double-overtime loss to Barton in the championship game of the CVAC Tournament on March 4.

Barton (26-3) needed two days to earn a berth in the semifinals, defeating No. 8 Wheeling Jesuit 93-70 on Sunday in a game that began Saturday evening. The game was suspended midway through the first half after a backboard shattered. Anthony Atkinson led the Bulldogs with 31 points.

"It's going to be an all-out war," Atkinson said of tonight's game. "They are our rivals and some things have been said, and they are in our house, the 'Dog House,' and it's going down."

Barton won each of the first three meetings against Mount Olive this season, including an 87-82 win at Wilson Gym in early January.

Both semifinal games pit conference foes against each other. The first semifinal, which tips off at 5 p.m., is an all-West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match-up between No. 2 seed West Virginia State and third-seeded Alderson-Broaddus.

The semifinal-round games were originally scheduled for Sunday, but were pushed back a day due to the completion of the suspended game.

The semifinal winners advance to the East Regional championship game Tuesday at 7 p.m. The East Regional champion joins the other seven regional winners in the Elite Eight March 22-25 at Springfield, Mass.