01/19/10 — Mount Olive men remain perfect in league play

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Mount Olive men remain perfect in league play

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 19, 2010 1:47 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- It wasn't always pretty, but it was certainly gritty and workman like.

Mount Olive persevered through 16 turnovers with solid rebounding and a balanced effort off the bench for an 84-70 win over Conference Carolinas opponent Queens on Monday afternoon at Kornegay Arena.

The Trojans outrebounded the Royals 52-37 and received 28 points from their reserves, including 16 from Brandon Allen and 10 from Mike Holloman.

Mount Olive picked up the defensive intensity in the second half to force turnovers and get stops. A 13-4 run fueled by Allen's 3-pointer gave the Trojans a 58-45 advantage.

"Coach called a timeout and told us we had to pick it up on the defensive end," said Allen. "We always want to out-rebound the other teams, so if everyone hits the glass hard it's going to be tough for our opponent."

The Royals pulled to within 68-61 on Devon Seaford's 3-pointer. Mount Olive (11-4 overall, 8-0 CC) answered with Kendrick Easley's 3-pointer, and layups from Derek Staton and Craig Hayes to extend the margin to 75-61.

Easley finished with a game-high 25 points to go with 10 rebounds. Craig Hayes added 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Queens (5-9, 2-5) used a 9-2 run to take a 16-12 lead early in the first half.

Allen knocked down 3-pointers on three consecutive trips down the floor for the Trojans. Holloman's jumper gave Mount Olive a 25-19 cushion a little more than midway through the first half.

"Coach is always telling me to I've got to look to shoot and I've got to be confident," said Allen. "I'm one of the older guys on the team, so I know it's my job if I can pick the team up then we can go. We all feed off each other so it's a good feeling."

Andre Lockhart's layup gave the Royals a 33-31 lead before the Trojans closed the half with nine unanswered points to take a 40-33 lead into the intermission. Mount Olive turned a 25-13 edge in rebounding into 12 second-chance points in the opening half.

"We didn't play our best ball in the first half," said Trojans head coach Joey Higginbotham. "I don't think we were focused. I wasn't pleased with the turnovers."

Mount Olive plays host to archrival Barton at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday night with first place in the conference on the line.