01/16/07 — Trojans make it three in a row

View Archive

Trojans make it three in a row

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on January 16, 2007 2:41 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- With Mount Olive cruising to another double-digit win, the only drama left at Kornegay Arena was whether senior Chris Bartley would make an appearance.

Bartley suffered a torn Achilles tendon in October and hadn't even dressed for a game this season.

With 3:26 to play, a thunderous roar was let out by the Mount Olive faithful as Bartley entered the game.

"Just seeing the big fella back on the bench was a great sight," said associate head coach Joey Higginbotham. "I was still scared to put him. I had to get the nod from our trainer, but he said it was good to put him in."

Bartley sank two foul shots to score the Trojans' final points in their 81-62 victory over the Belmont Abbey Crusaders, Monday night.

"Man if felt great to just dress out," said Bartley. "The leg is feeling good, but 280 pounds is a lot of weight on one leg. But other then that, if feels good."

The Trojans put together another sterling effort on the defensive end, holding their third straight opponent to under 70 points.

"The key was over the last 3 1/2 weeks we've really challenged the guys defensively and they've answered it," said Higginbotham. "They're all playing defense and that's what's going to get us where we want to go."

In the first half, the defense held Belmont Abbey to just nine field goals, as the Trojans entered the locker room leading 38-30 thanks to freshman Josh Brown's three-pointer right before the buzzer.

For the third straight game, Brown set a new career-high by scoring a game-high 17 points.

"Josh Brown has really stepped up and sparked us," said Higginbotham. "We talked about guys getting opportunities to play, and taking advantage of those opportunities, and he's one of those guys that has absolutely done that."

Along with the big night from Brown, Elton Coffield also had a strong game for Mount Olive, scoring 15 points and dishing out seven assists off the bench.

Mount Olive quickly jumped on the Crusaders to start the second half as it scored six unanswered points to go up by 14.

The lead would grow to 56-41 following a Brandon Streeter jumper, but Belmont Abbey was able to force a turnover and a couple bad shots to get into transition and score four quick points to cut the lead to 11 with 11:46 to go.

Seeing momentum was changing sides, Mount Olive coach Bill Clingan called a timeout.

"That was to get the momentum off of their shoulders and get it back on ours," said Higginbotham of the timeout. "We didn't challenge the guys that much because the guys knew what they had to do. We're young, but these kids are maturing every day."

Following the stoppage, Mount Olive came out clicking.

Brown drilled a three-pointer and the Trojan defense would go on to hold Belmont Abbey to just two field goals over an eight-minute span.

During that time, seven different Trojan players would score leading to a 21-5 run which gave Mount Olive their largest advantage of the night at 77-50 with 3:33 remaining.

Even with the game well in hand, Mount Olive refused to back down on the defensive end.

"The guys were even getting on each other in the huddle -- they didn't want (Belmont Abbey) to get 60 points," said Higginbotham.

The Crusaders did get over 60, but it was little consolation as Mount Olive had given a third straight opponent a one-sided beating. The Trojans have won their last three conference games by an average of 26 points.

Mount Olive (11-4, 5-3 in the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference) now turns its attention to Thursday night when they host arch rival Barton.

"We need to stay focused," said Bartley. "We don't want to get too over-hyped. Hopefully everyone comes out ready to play."

BELMONT ABBEY (4-9, 3-5)

Anthony Bell 0 2 4-4 10, Sidney Hoff 3 0 3-4 9, James Prince 2 0 2-2 6, Brooks Beard 4 1 3-4 14, Deonte Murphy 1 0 0-0 2, Jonathan Jackson 1 0 3-4 5, Karl Bauza 0 0 0-0 0, Patrick Kuhlman 0 1 0-0 3, Arturs Papans 1 0 0-0 2, Ric Marczenko 0 0 2-2 2, Chad Patus 3 0 2-5 8. TOTALS -- 15 4 20-27 62.

MOUNT OLIVE (11-4, 5-3)

Elijah Rouse 3 0 0-0 6, Lydell Walker 2 0 0-0 4, Kendrick Easley 3 1 1-2 10, Mike Holloman 2 0 0-0 4, Josh Brown 5 2 1-1 17, Paulius Dziugelis 0 0 0-0 0, Brandon Streeter 7 0 0-0 14, Montel Jones 1 1 0-0 5, Chris Holloway 2 0 0-0 4, Elton Coffield 3 2 3-4 15, Chris Bartley 0 0 2-3 2. TOTALS -- 28 6 10-14 81.

Halftime -- Mount Olive 38-30. Three-point goals -- BA 4-13 (Bell 2-6, Beard 1-2, Kuhlman 1-1, Prince 0-1, Murphy 0-2, Bauza 0-1), MOC 6-23 (Brown 2-6, Coffield 2-5, Easley 1-5, Jones 1-3, Bartley 0-3, Holloman 0-1). Rebounds -- BA 32 (Patus 8), MOC 41 (Rouse 10). Assists -- BA 14 (Murphy 6), MOC 23 (Coffield 7). Turnovers -- BA 18, MOC 16. Blocked shots -- BA 0, MOC 9. Steals -- BA 8 (Patus 3), MOC 7 (Rouse 3). A -- 305.