02/11/07 — Seven wins in a row ... and still counting

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Seven wins in a row ... and still counting

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on February 11, 2007 2:05 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Elijah Rouse scored eight of the game's first 10 points and finished with 17 overall as Mount Olive College held off in-state rival Lees-McRae 95-85 on Saturday afternoon.

Elton Coffield, who was honored prior to the game for moving into second place on MOC's all-time scoring list, added 12 points. The Trojans (18-5 overall) seized their seventh consecutive win and improved to 12-4 in the CVAC heading into Monday's showdown at regionally-ranked Barton College.

Mount Olive jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first two minutes of the contest, highlighted by a pair of dunks and pair of jumpers in the paint by Rouse. Henry Williams finally put Lees-McRae (5-16, 4-10) on the board nearly five minutes into the opening half.

The Bobcats eventually whittled the deficit to 17-14.

The Trojans' lead was still three with less than five minutes left before the break when Coffield's 3-pointer ignited a 10-2 run to close out the half. Rouse finished with 13 points and Mount Olive trotted to the locker room with a 39-28 lead.

Mount Olive extended the lead to 17 points early in the second half, fueled by three-pointers by Justin Melton and Kendrick Easley, and dunks by Lydell Walker and Mike Holloman. Three-pointers by Williams and Darius Roper sparked Lees-McRae, which climbed within 55-51 with just over 12 minutes left.

Easley's 3-pointer put Mount Olive back up by seven and the Trojans' defense helped build the lead to 20 points. Mike Holloman scored a transition basket off Brandon Streeter's outlet pass and Coffield's slam dunk off his steal at midcourt gave the Trojans a 78-58 lead with 6:15 left to play.

Mount Olive emptied its bench with three minutes remaining. Lees-McRae buried a series of 3-pointers and the Trojans' 16-point advantage dwindled to single digits. The Trojans scored their last 13 points from the free throw line to seal the win.

Josh Brown hit 8-of-11 free throws and scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half. Four Trojans scored eight or more points, including Chris Bartley, who scored a season-high nine points. Bartley saw his first action in mid-January after missing the first two months of the season with a torn Achilles tendon.

Rouse, who is ranked nationally in four NCAA Division II statistical categories, improved his averages in three of the four. Rouse was 8-for-9 from the field, while recording five steals and two blocked shots. He also pulled down six rebounds to share game-high honors. Melton matched Rouse with five steals and dished out four assists.

Coffield moved past three-time All-CVAC selection Chris McDonald on Thursday night against St. Andrews and extended his career total to 1,740 points. McDonald is third all-time with 1,725 points. Russell Stephens, a current assistant basketball coach at Spring Creek, is the program's all-time leading scorer with 2,165 points.

"I wasn't even aware of the points until they announced it," said Coffield, who hails from Williamston. "I had no idea."

Roper led all scorers with 24 points for Lees-McRae, while Williams finished with 20 points and Aaron Dugger added 13 points and a game-high seven assists. Roper and Williams pulled down six boards apiece as Lees-McRae outrebounded Mount Olive 41-25.

Mount Olive hit 17 of 23 field goal attempts (73.9 percent) in the second half and shot 55.8 percent (29-for-52) for the game. The two teams combined for 113 points in the second half, including a combined 33 points from the free throw line.