Mountaineers to Visits Quinnipiac in Northeast Conference Quarterfinals

Mount St. Mary's earned the seventh seed in the Northeast Conference Tournament and will face second-seeded Quinnipiac in the first round.  The Mount has advanced to the NEC Tournament for the sixth consecutive season, joining Central Connecticut State, Robert Morris and Quinnipiac as the only schools in the league to achieve that feat.

The Mount, which has advanced to at least the NEC Semifinals in each of the past four seasons, has posted a .500 or better record in NEC play in each of the past six years.  Mount St. Mary's and Robert Morris are the only league teams to post .500 or better marks in league play each season over that span.

The Mount is coming off a 64-55 victory at Saint Francis (Pa.) last Saturday.  Junior guard Lamar Trice scored 13 of his team-high 17 points in the first half as the Mount led by 19 points at the break.  Mount St. Mary's extended the lead to 23 points before the Red Flash rallied to within five late in the game.  Shawn Atupem answered with a basket and Trice added the next four points in a 6-0 that sealed the win.

Quinnipiac enters the NEC Tournament as one of the hottest teams in the league.  The Bobcats have won six in a row and eight of their past nine to move to 21-8 on the season.  Justin Rutty had 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead Quinnipiac to a 71-60 win over Fairleigh Dickinson in the regular season finale on Saturday.

James Johnson, who scored the game-winning basket with 0.5 seconds left in a 77-75 win over the Mount on December 4, leads the team in scoring at 16.3 points per game.  Rutty, who missed seven games with an elbow injury, is averaging 14.5 points and a team-best 9.1 rebounds while Deontay Twyman chips in 12.3 points per game for the Bobcats.      

This will be the second all-time meeting between the two teams in the NEC Tournament.  The Mount defeated the Bobcats, 80-70, in the NEC Quarterfinals at Knott Arena on March 6, 2008.  The Mount went on to defeat Robert Morris and Sacred Heart to capture the 2008 NEC title.

The Mount and the NEC Quarterfinals...Mount St. Mary's is 10-4 all-time in NEC Quarterfinal games.

* The Mount has won its NEC Quarterfinal matchup in each of the past four seasons.

* The Mount is 6-1 at home, 1-2 on the road and 3-1 at a neutral site in the Quarterfinal round.

*  Mount St. Mary's defeated Quinnipiac, 80-70, in the NEC Quarterfinals in 2008 at Knott Arena.

The Mount and the NEC Tournament...The Mount is in the NEC Tournament for the sixth consecutive season, joining Central Connecticut State, Robert Morris and Quinnipiac as the only teams to do so.

* Mount St. Mary's has posted a .500 or better record in each of the past six seasons in NEC play, joining Robert Morris as the only teams to achieve that feat.

* Mount St. Mary's has qualified for 16 of 20 NEC Tournaments since joining the league in 1989-90.  The Mount was ineligible for the NEC Tournament in its first two seasons in the league.

* The Mount is 18-12 all-time in NEC Tournament play.  Mount St. Mary's is 1-1 in the Opening Round, 10-4 in the Quarterfinals, 4-6 in the semifinals and 3-1 in the championship game.

* The Mount won titles in 1995, 1999 and 2008.

* This will be the second meeting all-time between the Mount and Quinnipiac in the NEC Tournament.  In 2008, the Mount posted an 80-70 victory over the Bobcats at Knott Arena in the Quarterfinals en route to the title.

* The Mount is the lowest seed (#6 in 1999) and second-lowest seed (#4 in 2008) to win the NEC Tournament title.

* In 2008, the Mount became the second team to win both the semifinals and finals on the road to capture the tournament title.  Monmouth did the same thing in 2006.

* The Mount has advanced to at least the Northeast Conference semifinals in each of the past four seasons, winning the title in 2008 and falling in the 2009 championship game.  The Mount is 4-6 all-time in the semifinal round, going 2-1 at home, 1-3 on the road and 1-2 at a neutral site.

* Mount St. Mary's is 10-4 all-time in the Northeast Conference Tournament Quarterfinals and has won its NEC Quarterfinal matchup in each of the past four seasons.  The Mount defeated Quinnipiac, 80-70, in the 2008 NEC Tournament Quarterfinals at Knott Arena.  The Mount is 6-1 at home, 3-1 at a neutral site and 1-2 on the road in the NEC Quarterfinal round.

Planting a Seed...The Mount is the No. 3 seed for this year's NEC Tournament.

* The only other time the Mount has been the No. 3 seed was 1993.  That team defeated St. Francis (N.Y), 81-78, in overtime in the quarterfinals before falling to Wagner, 65-48, in the semifinal round. 

Mount St. Mary's vs. Quinnipiac in 2010-11...Mount St. Mary's split its season series with Quinnipiac with each team winning on their home court.

* On December 4th, Quinnipiac rallied to earn a 77-75 victory on a James Johnson basket with 0.5 seconds left.

* The Mount held a 73-69 advantage with 1:38 left after a Danny Thompson drive.  Johnson then hit a three-pointer as the shot clock expired to cut the deficit to 73-72, but the Mount's Shawn Atupem countered to make it 75-72 with a bucket in the paint.

* Johnson drained a three-pointer with 27 seconds left to even the score.  The Mount had the final possession, but turned the ball over to Johnson, who raced down court and beat the buzzer with a game-winning lay-up with 0.5 seconds left.

* In the rematch on Jan. 22 in Emmitsburg, Shawn Atupem scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds and had six steals in a 72-63 victory.  The Mount withstood several second-half runs by the Bobcats to earn the victory.

* Both games were high scoring as the Mount averaged 73.5 points while converting 50.0 percent from the floor against Quinnipiac this season.  The Bobcats averaged 7.0 points and hit 43.8 percent from the field in the two games.

Last Time Out...Mount St. Mary's defeated Saint Francis (Pa.), 64-55, in the final game of the regular season last Saturday.

* The Mount took a 38-19 lead at the half and scored the first four points of the second half to push the margin to 42-19.  The 23-point lead was the Mount's biggest of the season.

* Saint Francis (Pa.) cut the deficit to 51-46, but Shawn Atupem scored off an inbounds play and Lamar Trice added four consecutive points to give the Mount a 57-46 advantage.

* Trice led the Mount with 17 points while Atupem chipped in 12.  Danny Thompson matched a career high with 12 rebounds in the game.  It was the second time this season that Thompson had 12 boards against Saint Francis (Pa.).

* The win moved the Mount to 3-15 on the road this season, including 3-6 against NEC opponents.

Trice as Nice...Junior guard Lamar Trice is one of the most-improved players in the Northeast Conference.

* Trice leads the Mount in scoring at 13.5 points per game, having scored in double figures in 23 of the team's 31 games on the year.  He has scored 15 or more points a team-best 16 times this year.

* The 5-11 guard has improved his scoring average by 11.6 points from last season, a whopping 611 percent increase.  Trice averaged 1.9 points per game in limited action last season for the Mountaineers.

* Trice has been even better in Northeast Conference play, averaging 14.7 points per game.  He has improved his scoring average in NEC games by 13.8 points per game from last year.  Trice averaged 0.9 points while appearing in 16 NEC contests.

* Trice is averaging 20.5 points over the past two games, having scored a career-high 24 at Robert Morris on Feb. 24.  He has posted three 20-point games this year and leads the team with 91 assists and 31 steals.

Checking In with Atupem....Senior Shawn Atupem closed out the regular season on a strong note.

* Atupem is averaging 12.9 points and 5.6 rebounds over the past seven games.  He is shooting 69.1 percent (38-of-55) from the field over that stretch.

* Atupem matched a career high with 23 points in the Mount's loss to Long Island.  It was the second 20-point game of the season for Atupem and third of his career.

* The 6-7 forward led the Northeast Conference in field goal percentage in NEC games this year at 59.5 percent.

* For the season, he is averaging 10.5 points and 5.0 rebounds while converting 51.6 percent from the field.  Atupem is tied for second on the team with 29 steals and is shooting 71.8 percent (74-of-103) at the foul line this year after converting just 47.0 percent (47-of-100) last season.

Getting Defensive...The Mountaineers continued their tradition of solid defensive play, leading the Northeast Conference in scoring defense in league games.

* Mount St. Mary's NEC opponents to 63.1 points per game while finishing second in the conference in field goal percentage defense (.409) in league games as well.

* The Mountaineers have led the NEC in scoring defense in league games in each of the past two seasons and in three of the past four years.

* The Mount has finished either first or second in scoring defense in league games in each of the past six years.

Taking Charge...Senior forward Shawn Atupem leads the Mount this season with 21 charges taken.

* The 6-7 forward has now drawn 57 charge calls in his career at the Mount.

* Atupem has led the Mount in charges taken in each of the past two seasons.  In 2008-09, he tied for the team lead with older brother, Sam., with 14.  As a freshman, he was second on the squad to his brother.

Dialing Long Distance...The Mount hit a season-high nine three-pointers in the team's 56-54 win over Monmouth.

* The Mount has picked up its three-point shooting as the season has progressed.  The Mountaineers are shooting 38.0 percent (57-for-150) from three-point range over the past 10 games.  The Mount finished tied for third in the NEC in three-point percentage (.360) in league games.  Junior guard Lamar Trice is shooting 47.2 percent (25-of-53) from beyond the arc over that span.

* Overall, the Mount is 10th in the NEC in three-point percentage (.322) and last in three-point field goals made per game (4.68).

Block Party...Mount St. Mary's had a season-high 10 blocked shots in the 70-59 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson.

* The 10 blocks were the most by a Mount team since Feb. 10, 2001, when the Mount had 10 blocked shots against Long Island.

* Six different players combined for the Mount's 10 blocks in the game.  Danny Thompson had three, Shawn Atupem and Julian Norfleet two each, and Julian Norfleet, David Golladay and Jacolby Wells added one block apiece in the victory.

* As a team, the Mount is averaging 5.0 blocks over the past seven contests with nine different players recording at least one block in that stretch. The Mountaineers are third in the NEC with 3.58 blocks per contest.

For Comparison Sake...The Mountaineers are definitely fared better statistically in NEC play as compared to non-conference games.

* The Mount finished tied for second in the conference in field goal percentage (.447) and tied for third in three-point field goal percentage (.360) in NEC games.

* The Mount shot 38.3 percent in 13 non-conference games this year while converting 44.7 percent in the 18 NEC contests.

Mount Wins at the Buzzer...Julian Norfleet's three-pointer with 0.6 seconds left in the Mount's 56-54 win over Monmouth was the team's first last-second game-winning shot since 2003.

* The last time the Mount won with a last-second shot was when Landy Thompson scored the game-winning basket at the buzzer in a 54-53 win at Navy on Dec. 27, 2003.

* The Mount has had several games decided in the final seconds this season.  Quinnipiac's James Johnson scored with 0.5 seconds left to down the Mount, 77-75.  At Penn State with the score tied 53-53, Talor Battle hit a 30-foot three-pointer with 1.3 seconds on the clock to lift the Nittany Lions to the victory.  The Mount lost at Bryant, 62-60, when Alex Francis drove the lane and his shot bounced through the net as the final buzzer sounded.

Taking Care of the Ball...Mount St. Mary's committed just five turnovers in the 70-59 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson.

* The five turnovers were the fewest in a game by a Mount team since Jan. 20, 1997, when the Mount had five turnovers against St. Francis (N.Y.).

* The fewest turnovers in a game by a Mount team since moving to NCAA Division I was three against VMI on Dec. 29, 1989.

MSM and the NEC..Mount St. Mary's finished the NEC season with a 9-9 mark in league play.  It was the sixth consecutive season the Mount has posted at least a .500 record in the NEC, joining Robert Morris as the only teams in the NEC to achieve that feat.

* Since the start of the 2005-06 season, the Mount is 64-44 (.593) in NEC regular season games.

* The Mount has advanced to at least the NEC Tournament semifinals in each of the past four years.  The Mount won the NEC in 2008 and lost in the NEC Championship game the following season in 2009.

* The Mount is 22-5 in NEC regular season games at Knott Arena over the past three seasons.

* Overall, the Mountaineers are 25-5 over their past 30 home games against NEC opponents including the playoffs.

* The Mount's 77-75 loss to Quinnipiac in early December snapped the team's 11-game NEC regular season win streak.  That 11-game streak matched the school record of 11 NEC wins in a row set in 1994-96.

Cajou Reaches Milestone...Senior Jean Cajou scored eight points in the Mount's 70-59 win over Fairleigh Dickinson to become the 43rd player in Mount history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.  Cajou reached the milestone with a lay-up with 4:20 left in the win over the Knights.

* He joins teammate Shawn Atupem in the 1,000-point club.  Atupem hit the mark with a pair of free throws against Quinnipiac on January 22. 

Wins vs. Losses...A look inside the numbers in the Mount's wins vs. losses.

* Mount St. Mary's is averaging 66.5 points while shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from three-point range in the team's 11 wins.

* In the 20 losses, the Mount is averaging 57.5 points while shooting 39.0 percent from the field and 29.0 percent from three-point range.

Thievery...Senior Shawn Atupem tallied a career-high six steals in the Mount's 72-63 win over Quinnipiac.

* The six steals were the most by a Mount player since Jeremy Goode had seven in a 70-59 win over Loyola on December 1, 2007.

From the Field...The Mountaineers shot a season-best 68.8 percent (11-of-16) from the floor in the first half of the win over Wagner at Knott Arena.  The Mount went on to shoot 55.8 percent in the game, the third time this year the team has topped 50 percent in shooting.

* Mount St. Mary's shot a season-high 58.1 percent (25-of-43) in the 70-61 win at St. Francis (N.Y.).  Mount St. Mary's shot 54.4 percent (31-of-57) in the 77-75 loss at Quinnipiac.

* The Mountaineers are 11-8 this season when shooting 40 percent or better and 0-12 when shooting under 40 percent.  In addition, the Mount is 11-6 when recording a higher field goal percentage than the opponent and 0-14 when the opposition shoots better.

Defending the Knott...The Mount has made Knott Arena a difficult place for the opposition in recent years.

* Mount St. Mary's had its 11-game homecourt win streak snapped by Navy, 81-68, on November 29.  It was the Mount's second 11-game homecourt win streak since the start of the 2008-09 season.

* Mount St. Mary's is 30-10 (.750 winning pct.) at home over the past three seasons.  Last year, the Mount went 10-3 at home after posting a 12-2 mark at Knott Arena in 2008-09.

* The Mount has been even better in Northeast Conference play, posting a 22-5 mark over its past 27 NEC regular season home games.  Including the playoffs, the Mount has won 25 of its past 30 home games against NEC opponents on Jim Phelan Court.

Cajou at the Line...Senior guard Jean is second all-time at the Mount in career free throw percentage.

* Cajou is shooting 81.9 percent (263-for-321) in his career at the charity stripe.

* Mark Scallion (1983-87) is the Mount's all-time leader in free throw percentage at 84.8 percent (228-for-269).

Non-Conference Numbers...The Mount finished the non-conference schedule with a 2-11 mark, going 2-2 at home and 0-9 on the road.

* Since joining NCAA Division I, the Mountaineers have struggled in non-conference play.  The Mountaineers are 62-152 (.290) in non-conference games since the move to Division I in 1988-89.

* Of those 214 non-conference games, 128 have been on the road, 66 at home and 20 at a neutral site.

* The Mount is 20-108 on the road, 35-31 at home and 7-13 at a neutral site in non-conference action since 1988-89.

* The Mount has had just one winning season in non-conference play at the Division I level.  The 2002-03 team went 5-4 in non-conference action before finishing the season with a 11-16 record.

Freshmen in the Lineup...The Mount started a trio of freshmen (Josh Castellanos, David Golladay, Julian Norfleet) in seven games this year.

* It was the first time since Nov. 30, 2005, that the Mount had a trio of freshmen in the starting five.  That game, Joey Butler, Sam Atupem and Markus Mitchell started against La Salle.

* Golladay and Norfleet started the first four games for the Mount this season.  It was the first time the Mount has had a pair of freshmen in the starting lineup since Jeremy Goode and Kelly Beidler started at Maryland on Dec. 28, 2006.

Third Coach in 57 Years...Robert Burke became the third men's basketball coach in 57 years at the Mount when his hiring was announced on May 10.

* Burke comes to the Mount with 22 years of Division I coaching experience, including helping 10 of his last 12 teams reach the postseason and six NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 2007 Final Four with Georgetown. He has coached 39 players who earned all-conference honors. In addition, he was named one of the top-10 assistant coaches in country according to a peer survey conducted by Fox Sports in 2008.

* He was an assistant coach under Jeff Jones at American last year.  The previous nine seasons, he worked with John Thompson III at Georgetown (five years) and Princeton (four years).  Burke was an assistant for Paul Hewitt at Siena (three seasons) while also serving as an assistant at Loyola Marymount (three seasons) and Maryland-Baltimore County (six seasons).

* Legendary Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan was at the helm of the program for 49 years (1954-2003), posting 830 career wins.  The Mount won the NCAA College Division National Championship in 1962 under Phelan while advancing to five NCAA Division II Final Fours.  Phelan guided the Mount to the 1995 and 1999 NCAA Division I Tournaments.

* Milan Brown coached the Mount the past seven seasons, leading the team to the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

BCS Flavor...The Mount played four teams from BCS conferences this season, the most in school history.

* Mount St. Mary's has road games against Cincinnati (Big East), Penn State (Big 10), Northwestern (Big 10) and Virginia Tech (ACC).

* The Mount has played three BCS schools in the same season on 10 occasions, including each of the past four years.

Brown Out of the Lineup...Senior Pierre Brown is out indefinitely with a foot injury.  Brown averaged averaged 2.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in 31 games last year and was expected to start this year.  In addition, sophomore Kristijan Krajina, a 6-9 forward who averaged 1.6 points and 1.1 rebounds in 20 games played last season, has missed all 31 games this season with an ankle injury.

Mount Signs Taylor Danaher to NLI... Mount St. Mary's has signed Taylor Danaher (Fredericksburg, Va./Fredericksburg Christian School) to a National Letter of Intent to enroll at the Mount next fall.

* Danaher, a 6-10, 200-pound center with a 7-2 wingspan, averaged 24 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks per game as a junior while playing in the Central Virginia Homeschool Athletic Association. 

* He was named First Team All-Tournament at the Homeschool Sports Network Championships last March.  Danaher played AAU with the Hoop Booth organization.

Strong Debut...Freshman guard Julian Norfleet tallied 15 points in his collegiate debut at Dayton

* The 15 points were the most by a Mount player in their collegiate debut since 2002.  Landy Thompson, who is eighth all-time at the Mount with 1,733 career points, had 28 points in his first collegiate game at North Carolina State on Nov. 22, 2002.

* The only other double-digit performance by a freshman in their first game at the Mount since 2002 was from Sam Atupem, who had 13 points at Virginia Tech on Nov. 18, 2005.  Atupem is the older brother of current Mountaineer Shawn Atupem.

* Norfleet had 16 points in his Mount debut, the most by a Mount player in their first home game since Jeremy Goode had 18 in a double-overtime win against James Madison in the 2006 home opener.

International Appeal...Sophomore Kristijan Krajina is the Mount's first international player since Pat Atangana (Cameroon, 2000-04).

* The Mount has had three other European players in the team's history.  Robert Balgac (1996-00, New Belgrade, Serbia), Gerben Van Dorpe (Erembodegem, Belgium, 1994-98) and Matt Meakin (Awsworth, England) are the others.

* Other international players to don the Mount uniform include Rodolpho Ruiz (Tampico, Mexico, 1920-24), Roberto Ruiz (Tampico, Mexico, 1926-27) and Paul Miller (Havana, Cuba, 1920-21).