12/18/08 — Chowan takes season series from MOC men

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Chowan takes season series from MOC men

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on December 18, 2008 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Young teams must learn how to win.

The lessons continued for the youth-ladened Mount Olive College men's basketball team in its 74-62, non-conference loss to in-state rival Chowan University on Wednesday evening.

The Trojans started slow and by the time they found their offensive rhythm, they trailed 30-13 against the Hawks.

"We are going to take the 27 good minutes of basketball that we played into Christmas break," said MOC head coach Joey Higginbotham said. "We are going to forget the first 13 minutes."

Hot-shooting guards Mark Brown and Charles Rhodes combined for 29 of the Hawks first 30 points.

"They were shooting the lights out early," said Higginbotham. "The fact is we just got behind too many points in the opening minutes."

Kendrick Easley kept the Trojans in the game with a pair of buckets in the closing moments of the first half. The Hawks held a 37-28 lead at the break.

Mount Olive (2-5 overall) battled back in the second half.

Easley buried two free throws, a layup and a 3-pointer to bring Mount Olive within two points at 41-39. That is as close as the Trojans would get.

Chris Kenon's layup and Rhodes' putback pushed the Hawks' lead back to six and Mount Olive was running on fumes.

"We just got wore out," said Higginbotham. "We are missing a couple of guards and we didn't have the guys to run out there."

Mount Olive's Justin Melton and Mike Holloman continue to nurse injuries. Easley, a preseason All-America candidate, scored 29 points despite battling a leg injury.

"(Kendrick) did everything he could, he played as hard as he could the whole night," said Higginbotham. "We wanted to sub for him, but we were afraid to take him out. We didn't want him to get stiff."

Craig Hayes was the only other Trojan in double figures with 10 points.

Chowan (5-5) was led by Rhodes' 20 points and five rebounds. Scott added 18 points and Brown finished with 17. The Hawks shot 56 percent from the field as a team.

"There are some people sleeping on Chowan," said Higginbotham. "They are a good team, well coached, and they can shoot the lights out."

Despite the loss, things are looking up inside Kornegay Arena.

"The moral of the team is good, and we got some good news with the injuries," said Higginbotham. "Holloman was cleared to play today and Melton should be ready to go before we play our first game after the break."

The Trojans entertain Tusculum (Tenn.) on Dec. 30.