Royal Flush Part I: MOC men exact revenge
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 27, 2008 2:02 AM
MOUNT OLIVE -- A nine-game winning streak, sole possession of first place in Conference Carolinas, a national ranking and a recent rout of rival and defending national champion Barton.
It's safe to say life's pretty good right now for Mount Olive.
The good times continued for the No. 24-ranked Trojans on Saturday afternoon as they crushed Queens 90-63 at Kornegay Arena and claimed the league's top perch to themselves.
With big man Brandon Streeter in foul trouble most of the game, Mount Olive proved just how overwhelming its depth can be. Four different Trojans scored in double figures and 12 of their 13 players in uniform got into the scoring column.
Mount Olive's subs contributed 47 points and three different reserves logged over 20 minutes of playing time. Kendrick Easley and Josh Brown each scored a game-high 16 points, and Streeter and Shaughnnon Washum both finished with 13.
"Every game, especially this week in these big games, we've had a different person spark us from off the bench," Trojans assistant coach Joey Higginbotham said. "We go 10 or 11 deep and we don't think we lose a lot."
Leading 41-34 at halftime, Mount Olive dominated the first three minutes of the second half. Streeter drained a pair of free throws and a layup. Easley added a pair of layups and Mike Holloman tacked on a bucket of his own.
Moments later, Lydell Walker converted a 3-point play and Easley knocked down a pair of free throws. The lead grew to 56-39.
"We really, really in the locker room went after (starting the second half strong)," Higginbotham said. "We've had a problem coming out of the locker room with less enthusiasm. We got it tonight ... we really came out of the locker room ready to play."
After finding holes in the Mount Olive defense and holding a slim lead midway through the first half, Queens went ice cold after intermission. The Royals shot 7 for 27 in the second half and just 19 of 46 for the game. The 28 points the Trojans got off 24 Queens turnovers didn't help the visitors' cause either.
Mount Olive outscored the Royals 49-29 in the second half.
"They're a tough team," Higginbotham said. "We really wanted to get up in the passing lanes and defend and rebound. I thought we did a great job of taking them out of what they wanted to do."
Queens led 17-16 with more than 10 minutes gone in the first half before Mount Olive went on a 10-1 run to take the lead for good. Brown got things started with a conventional 3-point play a 3 and a steal and a dunk. Washum added a 3-point play of his own after getting fouled on a layup off a textbook assist from Aking Elting.
John Thompson led Queens with 13 points.
After starting the year 5-3 and losing its last two games of 2007 by a combined 10 points, the Trojans have rattled off nine straight wins. Mount Olive has an average margin of victory of nearly 18 points during that stretch while climbing to the top of Conference Carolinas.
"A lot of that was timing," Higginbotham said. "We came back from Christmas kind of out of synch and unfortunately it took us two losses to get our eyes open. We've set a goal that we want to have a great 2008 and so far it's been good. By no means are we satisfied and by no means are we as good as I think we can be."
The Trojans continue conference play on Monday at Pfeiffer and return home Thursday to face St. Andrews.
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