02/09/12 — Higginbotham: Defense pivotal in win over Pfeiffer

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Higginbotham: Defense pivotal in win over Pfeiffer

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 9, 2012 1:48 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive used an impressive defensive effort to slow down Conference Carolinas rival Pfeiffer on Wednesday night.

The Trojans held the Falcons to just 45-percent shooting and pulled out a 78-64 win. The victory avenged a loss from earlier this season.

"Any time you hold a team that averages about 90 points to just 64, it is a good defensive night," Mount Olive head coach Joey Higginbotham said. "We did a good job on the glass, especially on the offensive end, and that allowed us to control the ball."

In the first half, the Trojans took advantage of their size as they bombed away from long range with limited success, but continually grabbed offensive rebounds. Mount Olive held a 22-13 rebounding advantage at the intermission.

The Trojans led 37-30 at halftime.

"I thought that Mahamed (Ibrahim) did a good job of finding good looks in the flow of the offense," Higginbotham said. "Jordan (McCain) gave us some nice minutes off the bench and we were able to weather some foul trouble."

Foul trouble was a theme throughout the game as 46 total infractions were whistled. More than half (28) went against the Trojans.

Mount Olive put the game away with an 11-3 run midway through the second half that pushed the score to 59-42 in its favor. The final 10 minutes basically turned into a free throw shooting contest as both teams hit the bonus early.

The Trojans finished 18-for-23 at the charity stripe, while the Falcons made just 15 of 30 free throws.

Mount Olive (15-7 overall, 8-4 CC) will have a six-day break before hosting archrival Barton on Feb. 14.

"If we defend like we are capable, we can beat anybody on any given night," Higginbotham said. "We have a week to heal ourselves and rest up which hopefully will allow us to come out with good energy against Barton."

Barton prevailed 67-65 in the first meeting on a controversial game-ending call that led to a pair of game-winning free throws by Gerald Boston in the final 2.7 seconds.