MOC - Trojans foiled again
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 14, 2006 2:48 PM
WILSON -- Beat an archrival three times in one year?
The Barton College men's basketball team has proven that adage, always recited and respected by superstitious coaches, certainly has its flaws. Players, coaches and fans associated with the Mount Olive College program would agree.
How about beating an opponent four times in one season?
The idea seems preposterous and is undoubtedly a bet that surely no reputable Vegas bookie would make. But the Bulldogs accomplished the feat in stirring fashion Monday evening. Barton turned back Mount Olive 82-79 in their NCAA Division II East Regional semifinal-round contest, which was played before 1,700-plus fans in a sweltering Wilson Gymnasium, also dubbed the "Dog House."
The Bulldogs, ranked No. 9 in the latest NABC Division II Top 25 poll, just refused to give the Trojans a bone in the series. Barton has emerged victorious by a total of 17 points in the four games combined.
"If a team ever deserved to win, this team right here deserved -- tonight -- to win this game," said veteran Mount Olive coach Bill Clingan. "Barton has got a great team, but we deserved to win the game hands down.
"We outfought them, but just couldn't capitalize and shot ourselves in foot. Effort-wise, we deserved to win the game tonight."
The semifinal affair mirrored Mount Olive's second-half effort against Shippensburg on Saturday and the second half of the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference tournament final played nine days ago. The Trojans struggled to rebound, and yielded too many second and third shots by their opponent.
And like those two previous games, once Mount Olive began controlling the boards, it began clicking offensively. Barton's precarious four-point halftime lead quickly disappeared and turned into an 11-point deficit -- 63-52 -- with less than 10 minutes remaining in the second half.
Barton out-rebounded Mount Olive 24-12 in the first half, but the Trojans owned a 22-18 edge on the boards in the second half.
"Before the coaches even came in the locker room, we were talking among ourselves about them getting a lot of second- and third-shot attempts," said MOC senior guard Victor Young, who pumped in a game-high 31 points. "We took it upon ourselves to box out and limit them to one shot."
Mount Olive (25-7) maintained a two-possession edge throughout the second half and got into position to finally snap the three-game skid against its nemesis. Young and reserve Chuckie Jefferson hit some key baskets to help the Trojans build a 77-70 lead with four minutes to go.
Barton appeared in trouble since it had no timeouts, but kept its poise and executed at the right time. Fueled by its defense and timely baskets underneath from Brian Leggett, the Bulldogs pulled within 77-75 at the 2:09 mark.
Leggett's layup off Casey Moore's assist forged a 77-77 tie and put the Bulldog faithful in a frenzy.
"Like coach said, it's a game of runs," said Young. "They made their run late and I'm not going to say drained, but we were pretty tired. We're not making any excuse because we just couldn't finish it off."
Young answered with a layup to give Mount Olive its last lead at 79-77. Leggett got fouled underneath and hit the back end of a two-shot foul. Moments later, Anthony Atkinson connected on two free throws to put Barton in front 80-79.
The Trojans inbounded the ball and called timeout. Clingan called for Melvin Creddle to take the last shot and he did, but the ball bounced off the left side of the backboard and the Bulldogs rebounded with 0.2 seconds to go.
"That's our side out of bounds play," said Clingan. "We don't normally run the ball through. It just depends on how much time is on the shot clock. We ran it through and Melvin had dribble penetration on a screen, and just couldn't put it down.
"We were hoping we might draw a foul if there wasn't a good shot out of it."
Mount Olive got neither.
Leggett canned two free throws with no time on the clock and helped Barton reach the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in school history. The Bulldogs (27-3) play Alderson-Broaddus (W. Va.) for the regional championship today with the winner advancing to the Elite Eight in Springfield, Mass.
"It's been a tremendous run and when you see that come to an end, it's difficult to put into words," said Clingan.
Creddle, Young, Jefferson, Maurice Horton and Antoine Griffin played their final game for the Trojans. The seniors leave with three 1,000-point scorers and 96 total wins making them the most-successful class in school history.
2006 NCAA Division II
Men's East Regional
(at Barton College, Wilson)
MOUNT OLIVE (25-7)
Elijah Rouse 0 0 0-0 0, Chris Bartley 1 0 0-2 2, Maurice Horton 5 0 1-1 11, Victor Young 8 3 6-8 31, Melvin Creddle 5 1 1-4 14, Chuckie Jefferson 3 0 4-5 10, Montel Jones 0 0 0-1 0, Chris Holloway 0 0 0-0 0, Justin Melton 1 0 0-0 2, Elton Coffield 4 0 1-2 9. TOTALS -- 27 4 13-23 79.
Alejo Barovero 4 1 2-5 13, Casey Moore 5 1 3-4 16, Brian Leggett 3 0 6-8 12, Bobby Buffaloe 3 0 0-0 6, Anthony Atkinson 1 1 8-8 13, Justin Diggs 1 3 0-1 11, Mark Friscone 1 0 2-2 4, Courtney Coffer 0 1 3-6 6, Bobby McNeil 0 0 1-2 1, David King 0 0 0-0 0. TOTALS -- 18 7 25-36 82.
Halftime -- Barton 39-35. 3-point goals -- MOC 4-12, Barton 7-22. Rebounds -- MOC 34 (Horton 5), Barton 42 (Leggett 9). Assists -- MOC 12 (Bartley 4), Barton 12 (Atkinson 6). Turnovers -- MOC 11, Barton 17. Blocked shots -- MOC 2, Barton 3. Steals -- MOC 8 (Creddle 4), Barton 4.
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