Trojans return to action after long layoff
By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on December 29, 2006 2:07 PM
After going more than three weeks since its last game, the Mount Olive men's basketball team begins a stretch of four games in six days, beginning this weekend at the UNC Pembroke Classic at Pembroke. The Trojans take on Chowan this evening at 5 p.m., then face Lincoln Memorial Saturday at noon.
Mount Olive (5-2) enters this weekend's tournament on a three-game winning streak, but has not played since an 89-74 win at Francis Marion on Dec. 5. Senior guard Elton Coffield went 7-of-8 from the floor, including 6-for-7 from beyond the arc for a game-high 23 points.
After a 2-2 start, the Trojans are 3-0 since moving Coffield and junior forward Brandon Streeter from the starting lineup to "sixth man" roles. Coffield is averaging 20.3 points off the bench, while Streeter is averaging 17.0 points in the three games. In the past two seasons, Coffield has been the Trojans' top scorer and has earned All-Carolinas-Virginia Athletics first team honors, despite starting only two games.
Senior forward Elijah Rouse has scored in double figures five times in seven games and flirted with a triple-double against Francis Marion with nine points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Rouse is fourth in the CVAC in rebounding.
For the first time in a decade, the Trojans have had two true freshmen in the starting lineup, as guards Kendrick Easley and Mike Holloman have started in each of the last two games. Easley, who along with Rouse has started every game this season, is averaging 15.3 points per game. Holloman has established career highs with 16 points against Pfeiffer and seven rebounds against Limestone.
Junior forward Lydell Walker has provided a spark on both ends of the floor for the Trojans, averaging just under seven points and two blocked shots per game. Walker ranks second in the CVAC in blocked shots. Sophomore point guard Justin Melton ranks third in the CVAC with 5.0 assists per game.
Chowan (4-6) is coming off a 72-68 loss at Charleston (W. Va.) on Dec. 18. The Hawks are 3-1 against CVAC teams this year, including a 78-74 win at nationally-ranked Barton on Dec. 5. Chowan fell to Mount Olive 79-70 in the championship game of the Pickle Classic in November.
Lincoln Memorial (4-3) fell 91-84 at King (Tenn.) on Dec. 16. The Railsplitters opened the season with a 4-0 mark, but enter this weekend's tournament on a three-game losing streak.
After competing in the UNC Pembroke Classic, Mount Olive will be off for two days, then will head to Institute, W. Va., to play a pair of games in the West Virginia State Classic Jan. 2-3.
Notes: A live Audio Webcast will be available on the Mount Olive College website for Saturday's game against Lincoln Memorial. Go to www.moc.edu and click "Athletics" for a link to the Webcast ... Mount Olive has won 12 consecutive games during the month of December, dating back to 2003 ... Trojan senior forward Chris Bartley continues to recover from a torn Achilles tendon. Head coach Bill Clingan hopes to have Bartley back on the court in February ... Trojan scoring leader Elton Coffield and Chowan scoring leader Trayvon Lathan are cousins.
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