01/25/13 — MOC men defeat Belmont Abbey

View Archive

MOC men defeat Belmont Abbey

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on January 25, 2013 1:47 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Five days after its five-game winning streak was snapped, the Mount Olive College mens' basketball team took the hardwood with every intention of regaining its momentum.

The Trojans delivered a 79-74 victory over Conference Carolinas foe Belmont Abbey at Kornegay Arena on Thursday evening.

"We have stressed the word 'team' since Christmas and tonight everyone contributed," Mount Olive head coach Joey Higginbotham said. "We did a good job on the glass and we got a nice contribution from our bench."

The Trojans started red-hot offensively, converting five of their first seven shots. They hit two of their first 3-pointers against the Crusaders, who committed themselves to playing zone defense and scrambled to figure out their rotations.

MOC led 12-5 four minutes into the game.

Midway through the first half the Crusaders changed to man-to-man, but the results were no different. Trojan post players got loose under the basket and routinely dunked the ball uncontested.

"We moved the ball and we were patient," Higginbotham said. "Our guys took what was there and didn't force things, which allowed us to score and set up our pressure defense."

Mount Olive (7-8 overall, 4-5 CC) scored eight consecutive points with three minutes to play in the first half and led 40-27 at the break.

The Crusaders came out with renewed enthusiasm in the second half and pulled within four points at 45-41 on a 3-pointer from Terrone Sheffey. Belmont Abbey completed its comeback with nine minutes to play when Justin Kuhlman hit a long jumper that tied the game at 55-55.

Kendall Hargrove gave the Trojans the lead back with a drive and a layup just 15 seconds later. A pair of baskets by Caleb Henderson put Mount Olive ahead for good.

"I really play off of the point guard in our half court offense," Hargrove said. "I always want to guard the other team's best player and I always want to draw the other team's best defender."

Hargrove led the Trojans with 21 points on 8-for-9 shooting. Dory Hines added 14 points in the win.

"Kendall has been our most consistent player over the past three weeks," Higginbotham said. "He has done a great job of getting to the rim and putting pressure on the other team's defense."

Belmont Abbey got 24 points from Tyshawn Good, who currently ranks second in the nation in scoring within the Division II ranks. The Crusaders' starters accounted for all but six of the team's points.

Mount Olive's bench outscored Belmont Abbey's bench 47-6.

Weather permitting, the Trojans play host to Limestone on Saturday at 4 p.m.