02/02/07 — Trojan men pound Coker in CVAC hoops action

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Trojan men pound Coker in CVAC hoops action

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on February 2, 2007 2:08 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive College is flexing its muscles at precisely the right time of year.

The Trojans won for the seventh time in their past eight games, defeating the Coker Cobras 99-65 on Thursday night at Kornegay Arena.

The win was the definition of a team effort as the Trojans recorded 30 assists on their 37 field goals.

"That pretty much speaks for itself right there," said associate head coach Joey Higginbotham, whose team shot 56 percent for the game. "We played great team ball and got great looks and knocked them down. I don't think I've ever seen a stat like that since I've been here."

Eight different Trojans had an assist, led by freshman Mike Holloman's seven.

Many of the Trojan assists were directed towards senior Elton Coffield during the first half.

Coffield caught fire, scoring 16 first half points -- including hitting four 3-pointers.

"Elton was taking what the defense was giving him -- he wasn't forcing anything," said Higginbotham. "He took some wide open shots and hit them."

Coffield was in the middle of a pair of Mount Olive runs that broke the game open.

Coker cut an early seven point Trojan lead to four following a 3-pointer by Ben Brim.

The Trojans then ripped off a 10-2 run capped by a sensational pass from Justin Melton. With Melton leading a two on one fast break, he threw a behind the back pass to a darting Coffield for a layup to put Mount Olive up 28-16.

Coker answered back and cut the lead to nine following another basket by Brim, who finished with a game-high 22 points.

Mount Olive then bombed the Cobras with an 18-3 run over the next four minutes led by Coffield.

The 6-foot 4 senior drilled three 3-pointers in a little over a minute to put Mount Olive up 41-21.

"I just got back to the basics during the down time," said Coffield. "I spent time working on shooting techniques and it just worked out tonight. I just got good looks."

A basket by Josh Brown closed the run, giving the Trojans a commanding 48-24 lead.

On the other end, the Mount Olive defense had held Coker to only one field goal for over four minutes.

"That's what's going to get us where we want us to go," said Higginbotham. "We're going to score points, but our defense is going to be the key. That was the key to getting us the big lead and getting us out in transition so we could get some easy buckets and good looks."

The second half was more Mount Olive domination after an initial cold start.

The Trojans didn't make their first second half field goal until Kendrick Easley connected for one of his four 3-pointers with 16:33 to play.

Coker was only able to cut the Trojan lead to 18 and Mount Olive poured it on with a late 14-2 run to push the advantage to 85-55.

The Trojans closed the game with their subs gaining some valuable experience in the final minutes as 11 of their 12 players scratched the scoring column.

"(Blowouts) are good because we're young and it gets some young kids some time to play," said Higginbotham, whose team has now defeated 10 opponents by at least 15 points. "The deeper we are the better we're going to be."

The Trojans were led by Brandon Streeter who scored 19 points while Kendrick Easley and Coffield both tallied 18.

The win improves the Trojans to 15-5 (9-4 in the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference) who are just one game behind first place Barton in the loss column.

"We looked at the last part of this season as a 10 game season," said Higginbotham. "Right now we're 3-0, but we've got seven more to go."

COKER (5-14, 2-11)

Chaz Smith 2 0 1-2 5, Boycho Branzon 1 0 2-2 4, Ben Brim 4 4 2-2 22, Lukas Varga 3 1 4-5 13, Jason Fulwood 2 2 2-2 12, Blake Terrell 0 1 0-0 3, Brandon Sanders 1 0 0-0 2, Michael Gore 2 0 0-0 4, Sabastian Lacayo 0 0 0-0 0. TOTALS -- 15 8 11-13 65.

MOUNT OLIVE (15-5, 9-4)

Elijah Rouse 4 0 2-2 10, Lydell Walker 2 0 0-0 4, Kendrick Easley 3 4 0-1 18, Mike Holloman 3 0 3-4 9, Justin Melton 1 1 0-0 5, Paulius Dziugelis 1 0 2-2 4, Brandon Streeter 6 1 4-4 19, Montel Jones 0 0 0-0 0, Chris Holloway 2 0 0-0 4, Elton Coffield 2 4 2-5 18, Josh Brown 1 0 0-0 2, Chris Bartley 0 2 0-0 6. TOTALS -- 25 12 13-18 99.

Halftime -- Mount Olive 48-27. Three-point goals -- CC 8-20 (Brim 4-7, Fulwood 2-6, Varga 1-3, Terrell 1-2, Smith 0-1, Branzon 0-1), MOC 12-23 (Coffield 4-7, Easley 4-7, Bartley 2-2, Streeter 1-1, Melton 1-1, Dziugelis 0-2, Brown 0-2, Jones 0-1). Rebounds -- CC 25 (Branzon 7), MOC 39 (Streeter 8). Assists -- CC 18 (Varga 5), MOC 30 (Holloman 7). Turnovers -- CC 19, MOC 11. Blocked shots -- CC 3, MOC 2. Steals -- CC 2 (Varga, Terrell 1), MOC 9 (Rouse 3). A -- 307.