02/23/07 — Bartley, Coffield, Rouse etch names in MOC record book

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Bartley, Coffield, Rouse etch names in MOC record book

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on February 23, 2007 2:21 PM

BELMONT -- Seniors Chris Bartley, Elton Coffield and Elijah Rouse became the first players in Mount Olive men's basketball history to record four consecutive 20-win seasons as the visiting Trojans beat Belmont Abbey 88-69 on Thursday night at the Wheeler Center.

The win clinched a home game for Mount Olive in the quarterfinal round of the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference Tournament. The Trojans improved to 20-6 overall and kept the pace for second place in the CVAC with a 14-5 record. The second-round game takes place Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.

The Crusaders fell to 7-18 overall and 6-13 in the CVAC.

Belmont Abbey outscored Mount Olive 43-41 in the second half after trailing 47-26 at halftime. The Trojans shot 51.4 percent for the game and had at least five players to score 11 or more points apiece.

Mount Olive was led by guard Kendrick Easley's 18 points, while Rouse added 15. Coffield recorded 12 and Brandon Streeter and Justin Melton each added 11 as the for the Trojans.

The Abbey shot 38.2 percent (21-55) as four players reached double figures in points, led by senior forward Anthony Bell, who finished with 16. Karl Bauza added 13 on 4 of 6 shooting from the field, while Brooks Beard and Deonte Murphy each added 11.

Belmont Abbey scored the first four points of the game on layups by Bell and Jonathan Jackson, but the Trojans answered with a pair of baskets to tie the game at five. After a free throw by Beard gave the Crusaders a 5-4 lead, Rouse scored the next six straight points to give Mount Olive a lead it would never lose.

The Trojans would increase its lead to as high as 14 points at 23-9 with 10:50 left, but the Abbey would close it to four on a 12-2 run, sinking four three pointers, three by Murphy and one by Bell. Mount Olive would answer with a run of its own, closing the half on a 23-5 run to build a 47-26 lead at the half.

The Mount Olive advantage grew to as high as 29 at 64-35 on a free throw by Streeter, but the Abbey would fight back by outscoring the Trojans 27-13 over the next 8:51 to battle back within 15 points at 77-62 with 5:47 left, but the Trojans regrouped by scoring five straight points to push its lead back to 20. From there, the Crusaders could not get any closer than 18 points as the Trojans won 88-69.

Mount Olive enters Saturday's regular-season finale against Anderson (S.C.)University in a three-way tie with Limestone and Queens for second place in the CVAC standings. A Mount Olive win or losses by Limestone and Queens clinches the No. 2 seed for Mount Olive in the CVAC Tournament for the fourth consecutive year.

Justin Melton flirted with his first collegiate triple-double in Thursday's game, finishing with 11 points, a career-high nine rebounds and six assists.