01/09/07 — Mount Olive rally falls short

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Mount Olive rally falls short

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on January 9, 2007 2:29 PM

CHARLOTTE -- Mount Olive rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final two minutes, but Queens held on for a 96-91 victory over the Trojans in Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference men's basketball Monday. Elton Coffield led four Trojans in double figures with a game-high 26 points, while Elijah Rouse added 21 points and nine rebounds.

Mount Olive (8-4 overall, 2-3 CVAC) built a 19-15 lead midway through the first half after Coffield hit the first of his four three-pointers. Queens (8-3, 4-0) rallied and built the lead to as many as six points after Stephen Bailey's putback capped a 13-3 run. The Trojans answered with a run of their own after back-to-back three-pointers by Coffield and Justin Melton put Mount Olive back on top 36-34 with 2:57 remaining in the half.

The first half saw six lead changes and four ties before the Trojans went into the locker room with a 40-39 halftime lead.

Chris Jones' basket on Queens" opening possession of the second half put the Royals back on top and the lead grew to 59-51 on Darnell Evans' three-pointer with 15:20 left to play. Coffield and Rouse combined for the game's next seven points -- all coming off of offensive rebounds by the two players -- as the Trojans cut the lead down to one.

Queens built the lead back to four, but Brandon Streeter's finger roll with 10:29 remaining put Mount Olive back on top 65-64, the Trojans' first lead since halftime. After another lay-in by Streeter, Queens came back with eight unanswered points as Patrick Fox's three-pointer gave the Royals a 72-67 lead with 7:33 left in the game.

Kendrick Easley's three-pointer helped Mount Olive chip away at the lead and the Trojans forced the ninth tie of the game when he slipped a defender down the left baseline for a two-handed slam dunk, evening the game at 79-79 with 4:06 remaining. But Dominique Ester's three-pointer on Queens' ensuing possession broke the tie and ignited another 8-0 run as the Royals matched their biggest lead of the game.

Queens still held an 89-81 lead with 2:14 remaining when the Trojans made yet another comeback. Easley cut the lead to six with a floater, then was credited with a steal when a double team by Melton and Rouse forced an errant pass. Rouse drew a foul on the fast break and hit both free throws to pull the Trojans within 89-85 with 1:29 remaining.

After Queens hit 1-of-2 free throws to extend the lead to five, Streeter answered with a short basket off the glass with 33.3 seconds remaining to make the score 90-87. Queens tried to beat Mount Olive's full court pressure with a length-of-the-court pass, but the Royals turned the ball over when Jones caught a high pass headed out of bounds and was called for traveling after landing hard on the floor.

Streeter drew a shooting foul with 14 seconds left, hitting the first to pull the Trojans within two, but missing the second. Evans ended up with the rebound for Queens and an intentional foul was called against Rouse, who was attempting a steal from behind, but got his hand caught in Evans' jersey as the two players went down to the floor.

Evans hit both free throws and Akeem Miskdeen added a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left, resulting in a four-point play and giving Queens a 94-88 lead.

A solid screen by Rouse set up a wide open three-pointer by Coffield to cut the lead in half with six seconds remaining. But Fox hit a pair of free throws to close out the scoring and seal the Trojans' third consecutive road loss in conference play.

Easley finished with 15 points and a career-high eight assists for the Trojans, while Streeter added 14 points. Coffield dished out six assists, while Rouse recorded four steals.

Evans led six Queens players in double figures with 18 points, while Miskdeen recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 assists. Bailey scored 14 of his 15 points in the first half and pulled down seven rebounds, all on the offensive end.

Both teams shot over 50 percent from the field for the game. Mount Olive shot 53.2 percent (33-for-62), while Queens shot 54.1 percent (33-for-61). Queens held the advantage at the free throw line, shooting 75.0 percent (24-for-32), compared to 66.7 percent (18-for-27) for the Trojans.

Mount Olive closes out a string of seven consecutive games away from home as the Trojans travel to Hartsville, S.C., Thursday to take on Coker in a CVAC contest. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.