MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – Freshmen Craig Hayes and Aaron Dobson established career highs with 17 points and 16 points respectively and Mount Olive shot a season-high 69.1 percent from the field as the Trojans defeated Coker 99-64 in Conference Carolinas men’s basketball Monday at Kornegay Arena. The Trojans’ field goal percentage was their highest since shooting 71.6 percent against Concord (W. Va.) on December 1, 2004, which was the highest single-game field goal percentage in the nation during the 2004-05 season.
The win was Mount Olive’s fifth in a row and marked the Trojans’ first home game since December 1 after seven consecutive away games.
Mount Olive (10-3 overall, 6-1 Conference Carolinas) broke away from a 9-9 tie as Kendrick Easley and Justin Melton combined for three consecutive three-pointers to build the Trojans’ lead to 20-15 with 11:53 left in the first half. Coker (5-9, 3-4) tied the game at 20-20 on Blake Terrell’s three-pointer and Mason Ambler’s layup.
Shaughnnon Washum’s basket with 10:38 remaining broke the fifth tie of the game and put Mount Olive ahead to stay. The Trojans then broke the game open with 15 unanswered points, highlighted by a combined three three-pointers in a span of just over 90 seconds by Easley and Dobson as Mount Olive built the lead to 43-24 with 4:59 left in the half.
Dobson’s three-pointer with 2:55 remaining gave Mount Olive its biggest lead of the first half at 49-26. The Trojans went into the locker room with a 52-32 halftime lead.
Easley scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half, while Melton scored all of his 11 points before intermission. Mount Olive shot 87.5 percent (7-for-8) from three-point range in the first 20 minutes.
Coker got as close as 18 early in the second half before Mike Holloman’s basket and Brandon Streeter’s three-point play pushed the Trojans’ lead above the 20-point mark to stay. Mount Olive extended the lead to 30 midway through the first half as Dobson hit a three-pointer and Aking Elting added a pair of free throws to make the score 81-51 with 7:08 remaining.
The lead fell below 30 only once and Josh Brown scored Mount Olive’s last six points for the final margin, the Trojans’ biggest lead of the game. Mount Olive has averaged 94.3 points per contest in its last three games and has scored at least 97 points in back-to-back contests.
Dobson was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, including 4-for-4 from three-point range. Hayes was 7-for-8 from the field.
Streeter added 10 points for the Trojans. Easley and Montel Jones shared game-high rebounding honors with six boards apiece as Mount Olive outrebounded Coker 36-21. Melton dished out a game-high six assists and Lydell Walker blocked three shots. Walker ranks among the nation’s leaders in blocked shots with more than two per game.
Mount Olive was 38-for-55 from the field, including 18-for-25 (72.0 percent) in the second half. The Trojans finished 8-for-12 from beyond the arc.
Ambler led all scorers with 25 points on 10-for-17 shooting for Coker. Josh Poston added 12 points for the Cobras.
Mount Olive is off until Saturday when the Trojans travel to Gaffney, S.C., to take on Limestone in Conference Carolinas action. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. Coker plays host to Queens Saturday at 4 p.m.