02/16/07 — Key CVAC battle on tap Saturday for Trojan men's basketball

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Key CVAC battle on tap Saturday for Trojan men's basketball

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on February 16, 2007 2:15 PM

The Mount Olive men's basketball team didn't know it at the time, but the Trojans' game this past Monday was a battle of regional top 10 teams. Saturday's game is also a battle of top 10s, but the Trojans are well aware this time.

Regionally ninth-ranked Mount Olive plays host to No. 8 Queens in Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference men's basketball Saturday evening at Kornegay Arena. Special tip-off time is 7 p.m. as part of the Annual Mount Olive Basketball Church Night.

Mount Olive (18-6 overall, 12-5 CVAC) is coming off an 86-82 overtime loss at regional No. 5 Barton Monday, a game in which the Trojans rallied from an 18-point second half deficit to force overtime. Senior guard Elton Coffield scored a season-high 28 points, his highest total since scoring 27 points in the Trojans' season opener in November.

Coffield, who moved into second place on the Trojans' all-time scoring list, increased his career total to 1,768 points. Monday's loss snapped the Trojans' seven-game winning streak.

Senior forward Elijah Rouse remains prominent among the NCAA Division II men's basketball statistical leaders. Rouse moved up to eighth in the nation with a 63.3 field goal percentage and ranks 22nd in steals per game. Rouse and junior Lydell Walker are both in a five-way tie for 48th in blocked shots. Coffield has the 32nd-highest three-point field goal percentage.

Queens (17-7, 13-4) had its four-game winning streak snapped Thursday night with a 95-87 overtime loss at home against Barton, which clinched at least a share of the CVAC regular season title and played its fourth consecutive overtime game.

Mount Olive enters Saturday's game in third place in the CVAC standings, a half-game behind second-place Queens. Saturday's winner owns sole possession of second place.

Queens won the first meeting 96-91 at Charlotte in January. Coffield tallied a game-high 26 points to go with six assists and six rebounds. The Trojans have won 10 of their last 12 games since the first meeting.

The top four teams in the final regular season standings earn first-round byes and homecourt advantage in the quarterfinals in the 2007 CVAC Tournament, which gets under way Feb. 26.

Notes: For the second time in four years, Mount Olive was featured on ESPN Sportscenter's Top 10 Plays of the Day, but this time, the Trojans' were on the wrong end. ESPN featured Barton's Anthony Atkinson's 77-foot basket at the end of the first half of Monday's game against the Trojans. In 2004, Marcus West's 80-foot buzzer-beater against nationally fourth-ranked Pfeiffer was No. 1 on Sportscenter's Top 10. ... After Saturday, Mount Olive has two regular season games remaining -- Thursday at Belmont Abbey and next Saturday at home against Anderson.