01/25/08 — Sweet revenge: Trojans dismantle reigning national champions

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Sweet revenge: Trojans dismantle reigning national champions

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 25, 2008 1:48 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- As keys jangled and chants of 'we can't hear you!' rang out from the Mount Olive student section Thursday night, it became apparent that Barton's 2007 Division II national championship and its seven-game winning streak over the Trojans had both taken their places as things of the past.

Mount Olive (13-3, 9-1 Conference Carolinas) used a 12-0 second-half run and a dominating performance from forward Brandon Streeter to rout the rival Bulldogs 84-63 at Kornegay Arena. The victory pushed the Trojans current winning streak to eight games.

Barton had not lost to Mount Olive since the 2004-05 season.

"All day yesterday at practice the coaches had put up little sevens all over the gym and were wearing T-shirts and it got us fired up," said Streeter who had never beat Barton in his career. "They were sending a message to us that they had beaten us seven straight times and we were determined during practice that it wasn't going to happen again."

Barton (11-3, 7-3) used less than three minutes to trim an eight-point halftime deficit down to two as Bobby Buffaloe's 3 cut the margin to 45-43. Mount Olive responded with 12 unanswered points, building the lead back to double digits for good.

The Trojans took their defensive intensity to another level in the second half, forcing 11 Bulldogs' turnovers including four during that 12-0 run and Kendrick Easley's 3 capped the spurt.

"We got that momentum and I've said before if you've got momentum in this game you've got everything," Mount Olive head coach Bill Clingan said. "They had the momentum and the whole thing switched hands and we were able to keep it at that time and capitalized on a few of their mistakes. This is a great tribute to our coaching staff getting these guys ready to play and prepared for a game like this."

Barton struggled all night to find an answer for Streeter on both ends of the floor. When the 6-foot-6 senior got the ball in the paint it almost always resulted in points as the Jacksonville native finished 10 for 12 from the field and matched a career-high with 25 points.

Streeter left his mark on the defensive end as well adding five defensive rebounds and four blocks, including two on back-to-back Barton possessions in the second half that sent the Trojans' faithful into a frenzy.

"I just wanted to dominate," Streeter said. "I made sure that every time I got the ball, whether it was offensively or defensively, that I really manned up and took it personally. I felt (the environment) was good for us and at the same time we came out and showed everybody who watched what kind of team we are.

"It was a great atmosphere."

The Bulldogs entered Thursday night's contest shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and close to 40 percent from beyond the arc, but struggled woefully from start to finish. Barton finished 24 for 73 from the field and a dreadful 4 for 21 from 3-point range. That included a three-minute scoring drought in the second half.

Meanwhile, Mount Olive's offense seemed to come to life after turning the ball over 14 times in the first half. Shaughnnon Washum's layup pushed the lead to 61-45, and Justin Melton added a conventional 3-point play and later connected from long distance. Before Barton could catch its breath the margin had swelled to 67-47. The Trojans finished 7 for 14 from long range.

Barton held a slim 8-5 lead in the first half on L.J. Dunn's layup and continued to lead until Streeter's basket tied the contest at 13-13 nearly nine minutes in. The Bulldogs momentarily jumped back in front before Easley's three gave Mount Olive a lead it never relinquished.

Mike Holloman's steal and breakaway dunk in the final minute put an emphatic seal on an emotional victory for the Trojans that left the students storming the court and setting the stage for the rematch on Mar. 1 in Wilson.

Easley finished with 10 points joining Streeter as the only Mount Olive players to finish in double-figures. Eddie Kershaw led Barton with 17 points.

The Trojans host Queens (13-3, 8-1 CC) on Saturday with first place in the conference up for grabs. The Royals downed the Trojans in overtime earlier this season.