Mountaineers Visit NEC Preseason Favorite Quinnipiac
Mount St. Mary's will face Northeast Conference Preseason favorite Quinnipiac on Saturday afternoon at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn. The Mount opened NEC play on Thursday with a 66-52 victory over Sacred Heart.
The Mount used a 7-0 run early in the second half to take a 41-32 advantage against Sacred Heart. After the Pioneers cut the deficit to four, the Mount scored the next four points to re-establish the lead and pulled away for the victory.
Junior Lamar Trice paced the Mountaineers with a career-high 21 points in the game, hitting 4-of-9 from three-point range. Trice scored 14 of his 21 points in the first half. Freshman Josh Castellanos added a career high 11 points while Shawn Atupem added 10 points in the victory.
The Mountaineers continue to play well on the defensive end of the court, holding the opposition to 37.6 percent shooting overall and 29.2 percent from three-point range.
Quinnipiac lost to Massachusetts, 66-64, at home on Wednesday night to fall to 4-2 on the season. The Minutemen scored the game-winning bucket on a goaltending call at the buzzer. Justin Rutty, the NEC Player of the Year last season, paced Quinnipiac with 21 points and 13 boards.
James Johnson leads the Bobcats in scoring at 17.2 points per game while Rutty averages a double-double at 13.8 points and 10.3 boards. Quinnipiac is averaging 72.2 points per game on the season, shooting 42.1 percent from the floor and 35.1 percent from three-point range.
Did You Know?...The Mount's win over Sacred Heart in the NEC opener on Thursday night was the first time the Mount has opened NEC play with a win in three season. The past two years, the Mount has opened conference play with an 0-3 mark. The last time the Mount opened NEC with a 2-0 record was the 2007-08 campaign.
The All-Time Series... Mount St. Mary's holds a 12-10 lead in the all-time series that dates back to 1985.
* Mount St. Mary's has won four of the past five meetings in the all-time series.
* Last year, the teams split the season series with each winning at home. Quinnipiac edged the Mount 64-63 in Hamden while the Mountaineers posted a 61-56 win at home.
* In the last meeting, Shawn Atupem had 16 points while Jean Cajou added 11 in the Mount's 61-56 win over Quinnipiac that snapped an eight-game Bobcat win streak. Justin Rutty paced Quinnipiac with 18 points and 13 rebounds in the game.
* Mount St. Mary's has lost four of the past five meetings in the series in Hamden, Conn.
* The Mount and Quinnipiac met in the Northeast Conference quarterfinals at Knott Arena on March 6, 2008. The Mountaineers won that game, 80-70, en route to the NEC title that year.
Last Time Out...Mount St. Mary's downed Sacred Heart, 66-62, in the Northeast Conference opener.
* Lamar Trice scored 14 of his career high 21 points in the first half to pace the Mountaineers.
* Josh Castellos chipped in career highs of 11 points, six rebounds and three steals in the game. The freshman guard hit 9-of-9 from the charity stripe in the contest.
* The Mount shot 19-of-21 (.905) from the foul line in the second half.
* Leading scorer Shawn Atupem scored 10 points in just 14 minutes of action due to foul trouble.
* The win was the Mount's first road win of the season in four road games.
Mountaineers Open NEC Play with Win...The Mount won its season opener for the first time since the 2007-08 season with a 66-52 win over Sacred Heart on Thursday night.
* The last time the Mount opened NEC play with a 2-0 record was 2007-08.
* Mount St. Mary's has opened conference play with an 0-3 mark in each of the past two seasons.
The Mount and the Northeast Conference...The Mount is 185-193 all-time in NEC regular season games.
* The Mount is 110-78 at home and 75-115 on the road during the NEC regular season.
* Mount St. Mary's has posted a winning record in nine of the 21 seasons the team has been in the league.
* Since joining the league in 1989-90, the Mount has had 17 All-NEC selections, including six first-team honorees.
* The Mount won NEC Tournament titles in 1995, 1999 and 2008 and won the NEC regular season crown in 1995-96.
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 24-6 (.800 winning pct.) at home over the past two 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 16-2 mark over its past 18 NEC regular season home games. Including the playoffs, the Mount has won 19 of its past 21 home games against NEC opponents on Jim Phelan Court.
* The Mount has recorded a winning record at home in each of the past five seasons and has been .500 or better at home in 18 of the 23 seasons since Knott Arena opened.
* All-time, the Mount has a 171-118 (.592) record at Knott Arena.
Road Warriors...With the calendar turning to December, the Mount will play eight of nine games on the road.
* December begins with a five-game road trip that begins with Northeast Conference games at Sacred Heart (Dec. 2) and Quinnipiac (Dec. 4). The trip also will see the Mount play at Penn State (Dec. 7), Loyola (Dec. 11) and Albany (Dec. 20).
* After the home game with American, Mount St. Mary's will face a tough three-game stretch at Northwestern (Dec. 23), at Vermont (Dec. 29) and at Virginia Tech (Jan. 2).
* Mount St. Mary's is 1-3 on the road this season and is 14-27 over its past 41 road contests.
December Musings...Mount St. Mary's is 52-91 all-time in the month of December since moving to NCAA Division I in 1988-89.
* The Mountaineers are 30-27 at home, 17-58 on the road and 5-6 at neutral sites in thos games.
* This season, the Mount will have seven of its eight December games on the road.
* The last time the Mount had a winning mark in the month of December was when the 2007-08 squad went 6-2.
Getting Defensive...Mount St. Mary's has been solid on the defensive end of the floor this season.
* The Mount leads the Northeast Conference in field goal percentage defense at 37.6 percent.
* Mount St. Mary's is third in the league in scoring defense (65.3) and is holding the opposition to 29.2 percent shooting from three-point range.
Atupem Climbs Career Scoring List...Senior forward Shawn Atupem is has moved into 51st place on the Mount's all-time scoring list.
* Atupem has 865 points in 101 career games at Mount St. Mary's.
* He leads the Mount in scoring at 12.9 points per game this season, having scored 13 or more points in five of the Mount's seven games.
Barber Sets Up Shop in the Post...Sophomore Raven Barber posted his first collegiate double-double with 16 points and 10 boards in the Mount's 70-61 win against Florida A&M.
* The 6-8 forward is averaging 12.0 points and 6.8 rebounds over the past four games. Barber is 18-of-25 (.720) from the field during that stretch.
* Barber is currently second in the Northeast Conference in field goal percentage (.622). He was 6-for-6 from the field against Niagara with five of those field goals coming on dunks. Nine of Barber's 23 field goals this season have been dunks.
Balanced Attack...The Mountaineers have had a balanced offense with five players averaging 9.5 points or more over the past four games.
* Lamar Trice is averaging a team-best 14.3 points during that stretch, followed by Raven Barber (12.0), David Golladay (11.0), Shawn Atupem (11.0) and Julian Norfleet (9.5).
* The Mount is averaging 66.8 points while shooting 45.2 percent from the field over that stretch.
Trice Fills Stat Sheet...Junior guard Lamar Trice posted career highs of 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the Mount's 70-61 win over Florida A&M.
* Trice is coming off a career-best 21-point game at Sacred Heart on Thursday night.
* The 5-11 guard has pulled down five or more rebounds in five of the first seven games while he has scored in double figures in five of the past six.
* For the season, Trice is averaging 12.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.
Freshmen in the Lineup...The Mount started a trio of freshmen (Josh Castellanos, David Golladay, Julian Norfleet) the past three games.
* 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.
Brown and Krajina Out of the Lineup...Senior Pierre Brown and sophomore Kristijan Krajina are out indefinitely with injuries. Brown, who averaged 2.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in 31 games last year, is out with a foot injury. Krajina, a 6-9 forward who averaged 1.6 points and 1.1 rebounds in 20 games played last season, is out 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.
BCS Flavor...The Mount will be playing 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.
Cajou Takes Leave of Absence... Senior guard Jean Cajou has withdrawn from school and taken a leave of absence for the fall 2010 semester.
* "As Jean's coaches, teammates and friends we miss him very much," said head coach Robert Burke. "We are extremely hopeful he will return to school and the court for the second semester."
* Cajou, named to the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major All-Defensive team last season, averaged 9.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 2009-10.
* The 6-3 guard has started every game over the past two seasons, averaging 9.8 points in 98 career games for the Mountaineers.
* The 2008 Northeast Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player has 963 career points with 323 rebounds, 169 assists and 115 three-pointers made at the Mount.
Non-Conference Numbers...Since joining NCAA Division I, the Mountaineers have struggled in non-conference play. The Mountaineers are 62-145 (.300) in non-conference games since the move to Division I in 1988-89.
* Of those 207 non-conference games, 122 have been on the road, 65 at home and 20 at a neutral site.
* The Mount is 20-102 on the road, 35-30 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.
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.
Norfleet Named NEC Co-Rookie of the Week...Freshman Julian Norfleet was named the Northeast Conference Co-Rookie of the Week on Monday.
* The freshman averaged 11.5 points per game in a win over Savannah State and a loss to Cincinnati.
* In a 69-59 loss at Cincinnat, Nofleet drilled a three-pointer with 59 seconds left to pull the Mount within 62-58. He finished the game with seven points, six rebounds and three assists.
* In the Mount's 68-62 overtime win over Savannah State, Norfleet's clutch shooting down the stretch helped the Mount rally from a seven-point deficit. Trailing 41-34 with eight minutes left, Norfleet hit a pair of three-pointers in a 12-0 run that helped the Mount regain the lead.
* After Savannah State rallied to send the game into overtime, Norfleet connected for a three-pointer 21 seconds into the extra session to give the Mountaineers the lead for good. He finished the game with a season-high 16 points, including a 5-for-10 mark from beyond the arc.
* Norfleet is the first Mountaineer to earn NEC Rookie of the Week honors since Shawn Atupem won the award on Feb. 18, 2008.
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).