03/04/08 — Trojan men survive and advance

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Trojan men survive and advance

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 4, 2008 1:50 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- A sparse Kornegay Arena crowd sat quietly for 30 minutes Monday evening and wondered if Mount Olive could emerge from its season-ending, two-game losing streak.

The answer came in the final 10 minutes.

Brandon Streeter's offensive putback and Aaron Dobson's 3-pointer fueled a late run, and the No. 17-ranked Trojans eliminated Coker (S.C.) College 85-75 from the 2008 Conference Carolinas tournament. Top-seeded Mount Olive (22-6 overall) entertains two-time defending league champion Barton in the semifinals Thursday. Game time is 7 p.m.

Streeter finished with a double-double -- 24 points and 10 rebounds. Dobson supplied nine points, all from 3-point range, off the bench. Josh Brown accounted for 13 points, while Mike Holloman provided 11 points.

Mount Olive claimed its 15th consecutive victory in the series and 21st overall in 26 meetings since 1997-98. But the eighth-seeded Cobras seemed destined to end their futility and for 30 minutes gave the top-seeded Trojans all they could handle.

Coker controlled the tempo and consistently executed its offense.

"At halftime, the coaches got on us because we were playing a little lax in the first half," said Streeter. "The second half, we picked it up and started executing better. I think it all boiled down to our defense. We took it personal that they got a lot of buckets they shouldn't have had.

"We were a little lazy."

The Trojans effectively shut down the passing lanes as the second half progressed and forced the Cobras (9-19) to find other scoring avenues for their offense. Mount Olive also switched to a smaller lineup and used its dribble penetration to create more offensive chances.

Holloman's offensive putback gave the Trojans their first lead, 51-50, nearly midway through the second half. Justin Melton added two free throws and a 3-pointer to make it 56-50.

Coker battled back and retook the lead, 58-57, on Lukas Varga's layup. But Streeter's offensive rebound and Dobson's 3 off Shaughnnon Washum's assist put the Trojans back in front for good at 63-58.

"We had an outstanding last 10 minutes," said MOC head coach Bill Clingan. "Our defense moved, we moved the ball offensively and got some good production off the bench. The first half we shot 41 percent and the second half, we came back and shot 62 percent."

Mount Olive built a 77-66 advantage on Streeter's layup off Dobson's assist. However, Vargas pulled the Cobras within 77-72 on a layup, a free throw and 3 off Josh Poston's assist with 76 seconds remaining in regulation.

On the next possession, Streeter kicked out a pass to Dobson, who drilled a 3.

"I think I'm more like a decoy because so many teams are worried about me and worrying about what I'm going to do," said Streeter. "My teammates don't realize sometimes that they have open shots, too ... one-on-one opportunities."

Coker pulled within 80-75 on Ryan Fulwood's 3, but Mount Olive sealed the outcome at the free throw line in the final 32.8 seconds. The Trojans shot 28 of 37 at the charity stripe for the game, compared to 9 of 18 for the Cobras.