Trojans put away Flying Fleet
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 23, 2011 1:51 AM
MOUNT OLIVE -- No style points for this one.
Still, Mount Olive survived the "danger" game.
The Trojans drained seven critical free throws in the final 77 seconds, and turned back pesky Erskine (S.C.) College, 54-40, inside Kornegay Arena on Saturday afternoon.
"It's a different game, they slow it down a lot," said Mount Olive head coach Joey Higginbotham. "It's a grinder game and I thought we did a pretty good job. "It's not going to be a high-scoring game against these guys, especially with the team we have this year."
Mount Olive (10-6 overall) rose to 5-3 in Conference Carolinas action this season, and snapped Erskine's modest, two-game win streak. The Flying Fleet have won just three of 26 meetings against the Trojans since 1998.
Derek Staton led three Trojans' players in double figures with 16 points. Ewon Wright added 12, while freshman Dory Hines provided 10 and eight rebounds.
"It's such a difficult game to judge because it's a possession game, every possession is so valuable," said Higginbotham. "It's a game that when you get a lead, it's good because it's hard to come back, and that definitely helped us when we had the lead at halftime.
"I was hoping we could open it up a little more."
The Trojans managed just one field goal during the opening five minutes of the second half. Higginbotham's squad misfired on several offensive possessions and was whistled for two illegal screens during that stretch.
Erskine (2-10, 1-6) pulled to within 32-21 on Filip Pejovic's 3-pointer off Kevan Shepps' assist. However, baskets by Hines, Wright and Staton extended Mount Olive's lead to 38-23 nearly nine minutes into the half.
The teams traded scores on their next few possessions until Wright's 3-pointer off Aleks Mitrovic's assist put the Trojans further ahead at 45-29. The Flying Fleet answered with a 9-2 run, but could get no closer.
Hines began the game-ending, free-throw parade by hitting the front end of a two-shot foul. The Trojans converted 11 of 14 second-half free throws and ended up 12 of 18 for the game.
The Trojans shot 8 of 14 (57 percent) from the floor in the second half.
"It's been a while since we shot less shots in a game against Erskine and beat them by double figures," said Higginbotham. "I thought the difference from the first half to the second half was our offensive execution, and we got to the free throw line.
"I was proud of the kids because they played hard, played tough and I thought we guarded pretty well for the most part. It's a good win. We'll take it and move on to the next one."
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