02/28/07 — CVAC basketball: Trojan men entertain No. 10 seed Coker

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CVAC basketball: Trojan men entertain No. 10 seed Coker

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on February 28, 2007 2:32 PM

For the fourth year in a row, the Mount Olive men's basketball team enters the conference tournament as the No. 2 seed. The Trojans hope this is the year they finish No. 1.

Mount Olive opens tournament play tonight as the second-seeded Trojans play host to No. 10 seed Coker in the quarterfinal round of the 2007 Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference Men's Basketball Tournament. Tip-off is 7 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.

Mount Olive (21-6 overall, 15-5 CVAC) finished regular season play Saturday with a 68-60 victory over Anderson, which finished last in the conference standings. The Trojans needed four free throws in the final 15 seconds to seal the win.

Trojan head coach Bill Clingan hopes Saturday's game served as a wake-up call for his team.

"We didn't play well Saturday, but a lot of that was the fact that Anderson played a very good game," said Clingan. "No matter what the other team's record, you can't ever let down."

Mount Olive, which ranks in the top 10 in the nation in scoring offense, averaging more than 88 points per game, was held below 70 points for the first time Saturday. The Trojans eclipsed the 90-point mark in both meetings against Coker this season, winning 95-68 at Coker and 99-65 at Kornegay Arena.

Coker (8-20, 4-16) reached the quarterfinals with a 66-59 win Monday at No. 7 St. Andrews. The win marked the third year in a row the No. 10 seed has defeated the No. 7 seed and the third time in four years Coker has won on the road in the first round. In last year's quarterfinal-round game, the Cobras hit 15 three-pointers to nearly upset eventual champion Barton before falling 79-75.

"(Coker head coach) Dan Schmotzer always does a good job getting his teams prepared for the tournament," said Clingan. "He'll have his team ready to play."

Four Trojans average in double figures with senior Elton Coffield leading the way with 16.6 points per game. Coffield ranks second on the Trojan men's basketball all-time scoring list with 1,802 career points.

Senior Elijah Rouse posted his eighth double-double of the season Saturday with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Rouse ranks seventh in the nation in shooting with a 64.3 field goal percentage. He also ranks 15th in the nation in steals with a 2.4 per game average.

Freshman Kendrick Easley (15.7 points per game) and junior Brandon Streeter (14.4 ppg) join Coffield and Rouse in double figure scoring. Junior Lydell Walker ranks in the top 40 in the nation in blocked shots with 1.7 per game.