03/03/10 — Easley sets new MOC career scoring mark

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Easley sets new MOC career scoring mark

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 3, 2010 1:47 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Kendrick Easley passed up the first two chances.

But not the next four.

The sharp-shooting guard easily swished the net on each shot and became the all-time leading scorer in Mount Olive College men's basketball history Tuesday evening.

Easley poured in 29 points against Coker (S.C.) College and boosted his career total to 2,187, breaking the previous record of 2,165 points held by Russell Stephens, who was in attendance for the game.

"It's hard not to think about it," said the modest Easley. "It's all over the internet and everybody is talking about it. It was definitely in the back of my mind. I wasn't really concentrating on getting the scoring record, but was just out there playing with what the defense gave me.

"I played aggressively like I always do and luckily, the shots were falling."

Easley's first basket off Lamonte Theus' assist knotted the Conference Carolinas, quarterfinal-round tournament game at 8-8. His second and third field goals kept the Trojans within one point in the early stages.

The fourth bucket occurred during a 22-0 run. A tipped ball landed in Easley's hands and the reigning conference player-of-the-year easily knocked it down from beyond the 3-point arc. The officials stopped the game and a sparse Kornegay Arena crowd rewarded Easley with a standing ovation.

"It's only fitting that he breaks it with a 3-point shot because that's what he has done over his four years here," said Stephens, a 1994 alum of MOC. "It was sweet to see. Mixed emotions there, but hey, records are made to be broken. If anyone deserves to break it, it's Kendrick.

"He plays hard, plays with passion, is a leader (and) doesn't play with a lot of emotion. But he goes out there and gives you the same thing every night. He plays hard and defends well, and you can't ask for a better kid to break the record."

Easley converted 10 of 13 shots, grabbed four rebounds, dished out three assists and collected one steal in 30 minutes of action. He has tallied 610 points this season, leaving him just 17 shy of tying the single-season record set by Marcus West in 2002-03.

"It's a great accomplishment," said MOC head coach Joey Higginbotham. "We talked about it during the shoot-around this morning, saying 'let's get this thing over so we can concentrate on just winning.'

"But, to his credit, he never talked about it, but I knew he thought about it. He's a focused kid and has been a joy to coach. (Now) we have more games to play and more points to score."