Shawn Atupem scored a season-high 20 points to lead Mount St. Mary's past Sacred Heart, 61-45, on Thursday night at Knott Arena. The Mountaineers closed the first half on a 17-to-3 run to take a 30-18 lead at the half. Mount St. Mary's stretched the lead to as much as 18 points in the second half. Julian Norfleet added 13 points and Lamar Trice 11 in the victory.
Atupem went 8-for-9 from the field in the victory for his 20 points, recording the second 20-point game in his career. Atupem needs 17 points to become the 42nd player in Mount history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
Trice leads the Mount in scoring at 13.9 points per game while Atupem is averaging 10.4 points and 5.0 rebounds. Danny Thompson is the Mount's top rebounder at 6.3 caroms per game.
Mount St. Mary's has moved into a five-way tie for third place in the Northeast Conference standings. Long Island paces the conference with a 6-1 mark while Wagner is alone in second place with a 5-2 league record. The Mount, Quinnipiac, Bryant, Central Connecticut State and Robert Morris are all tied for third at 4-3 in NEC games.
Quinnipiac fell to 12-6 overall and 4-3 in the NEC with a 90-80 loss at Wagner on Thursday night. James Johnson scored 24 points and Dominique Langston added 15 in the loss. Wagner shot 57.9 percent from the floor and was 10-for-15 from three-point range in the win.
The Bobcats are playing without NEC Preseason Player of the Year Justin Rutty, who is out with an elbow injury. Rutty is averaging team-highs of 16.6 points and 9.9 rebounds this season. Johnson is averaging 16.3 points with Deontay Twyman chipping in 13.2 points per game.
DID YOU KNOW? Senior forward Shawn Atupem scored a season-high 20 points in the win over Sacred Heart on Thursday night. It was the second career 20-point game for Atupem, who scored a career-best 23 points in a 63-61 win over Robert Morris in the regular season finale last year. The Mount has had five 20-point games this year with Lamar Trice posting two and Atupem, Raven Barber and Julian Norfleet each with one.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES...Mount St. Mary's holds a 12-11 advantage in the all-time series that began in 1985.
* The Mount is 7-3 all-time at home against Quinnipiac, having won five in a row at home against the Bobcats. Quinnipiac's last win at Knott Arena was an 84-74 victory on January 17, 2005.
* It has been a series dominated by the home team of late with the home team winning 10 of the last 11 games.
* The Mountaineers have won four of the past six meetings in the series, including an 80-70 victory in the 2008 NEC Quarterfinals.
* Quinnipiac posted a 77-75 victory over the Mount on December 4th in Hamden, Conn.
Last Time Out...Mount St. Mary's defeated Sacred Heart, 61-45, at home on Thursday night.
* The win marked the first time this season that the team has won back-to-back games.
* Senior forward Shawn Atupem led the Mount with a season-high 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field. Atupem added six rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block in the game.
* Julian Norfleet hit 3-of-7 from three-point range and tallied 13 points in the victory.
* The Mount closed the first half on a 17-to-3 run to take a 30-18 lead at the half. Mount St. Mary's led by as much as 18 points in the second stanza.
First Meeting...Earlier this season, Quinnipiac edged the Mount, 77-75, on a James Johnson lay-up with 0.5 seconds left on December 4th in Hamden, Conn.
* The Mount held a 73-69 lead late in the game before Johnson hit a difficult three-pointer with a minute left and the shot clock about to expire to cut the Mount lead to one..
* Shawn Atupem countered with a basket for the Mount, but Johnson converted another three-pointer to even the score with 27 seconds left.
* On the Mount's final possession, Johnson forced a turnover and converted a length of the court drive with 0.5 seconds left for the game-winner.
* Lamar Trice led the Mount with 17 points with Julian Norfleet adding 16. Atupem finished with 15 points and Danny Thompson chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
* Johnson led Quinnipiac with 25 points with Justin Rutty adding 24 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.
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 13.9 points per game, having scored in double figures in seven consecutive games and in 16 of the team's 20 games on the year. He has scored 15 or more points in 10 of the past 14 games.
* The 5-11 guard has improved his scoring average by 12.0 points from last season, a whopping 632 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 17.7 points per game, second in the league. He has improved his scoring average in NEC games a whopping 16.8 points per game from last year. Trice averaged 0.9 points while appearing in 16 NEC contests.
* Trice has totaled 124 points, 43 field goals, 15 three-pointers, 24 assists, nine steals and 223 minutes in six NEC games this year. In 26 career NEC appearances prior to this season, Trice had totals of 23 points, seven field goals, one three-pointer, 10 assists, four steals and 103 minutes played.
* Trice scored a career-best 22 points in the win at St. Francis (N.Y.) and added 21 in the victory at Sacred Heart.
* He also leads the Mount in assists (62) and steals (23).
Thompson Taking Off...Junior forward Danny Thompson has given the Mount a big lift off the bench of late. Thompson scored a career-high 16 points while grabbing eight rebounds in the 70-61 win at St. Francis (N.Y.) last Saturday.
* The 6-7 forward has posted double figures in rebounds in four of the past seven games and is averaging 9.0 rebounds over the past eight contests.
* Thompson tallied his first career double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds in the Mount's 63-56 win over Saint Francis (Pa.).
* Thompson is averaging 5.8 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds per game on the year. He is second in the Northeast Conference with 8.1 rebounds per game in league games.
* Over the past five games, he is averaging 7.8 points and 9.6 rebounds while converting 57.1 (12-of-21) percent from the field and 75.0 percent (15-of-20) at the line.
* Thompson leads the Mount and is sixth in the NEC with 1.30 blocks per game.
MSM and the NEC..Mount St. Mary's has completed the non-conference portion of the schedule and will play only Northeast Conference games the rest of the way.
* Mount St. Mary's, which is 4-3 so far this year in the NEC, has posted three-straight winning seasons in conference play.
* Since the start of the 2005-06 season, the Mount is 59-38 (.608) in NEC regular season games.
* The Mount has advanced to at least the NEC Tournament semifinals in each of the past five years. The Mount won the NEC in 2008 and lost in the NEC Championship game the following season in 2009.
* The Mount is 18-3 in NEC regular season games at Knott Arena over the past two-plus seasons.
* Overall, the Mountaineers are 21-3 over their past 24 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.
For Comparison Sake...The Mountaineers are definitely faring better statistically in NEC play so far this season.
* The Mount is second in the league in field goal percentage (.454) in league games and tied for sixth in three-point percentage (.333). Overall, the Mount is eighth in field goal percentage (.406) and last in three-point percentage (.293).
Barber Leads NEC in Field Goal Percentage...Sophomore Raven Barber leads the Northeast Conference by a wide margin in field goal percentage at 65.2 percent.
* The 6-8 forward scored 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the Mount's win over St. Francis (N.Y.). Earlier this year, He scored a career-high 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting in the Mount's loss at Albany.
* Barber is shooting 69.4 percent (34-of-49) from the field over the past 10 games.
* Barber has shot 50 percent or better in 16 of the Mount's 20 games this year. 17 of his 58 field goals have been dunks.
* For his career, Barber is shooting 59.4 percent from the floor (101-for-170). The Mount's all-time leader in career field goal percentage (minimum 150 FGM) is Konata Springer, who shot 59.4 percent (161-for-271).
Wins vs. Losses...A look inside the numbers in the Mount's wins vs. losses.
* Mount St. Mary's is averaging 66.3 points while shooting 48.0 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from three-point range in the team's six wins.
* In the 14 losses, the Mount is averaging 56.6 points while shooting 37.9 percent from the field and 25.8 percent from three-point range.
From the Field...Mount St. Mary's shot a season-high 58.1 percent (25-of-43) in the 70-61 win at St. Francis (N.Y.).
* It is the second time this season the Mount has shot 50 percent or better from the floor. Mount St. Mary's shot 54.4 percent (31-of-57) in the 77-75 loss at Quinnipiac.
* The Mountaineers are 6-5 this season when shooting 40 percent or better and 0-9 when shooting under 40 percent. In addition, the Mount is 6-4 when recording a higher field goal percentage than the opponent and 0-10 when the opposition shoots better.
The Mount and the Northeast Conference...The Mount is 188-196 all-time in NEC regular season games.
* The Mount is 112-79 at home and 76-117 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.
Cajou Returns...Senior guard Jean Cajou has returned to the team and appeared in two games this year.
* Cajou has 973 points in 102 career games. He is 27 points shy of becoming the 42nd player in Mount history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
* Cajou was named to CollegeInsider.com's Mid-Major All-Defensive Team last year.
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 26-8 (.765 winning pct.) at home over the past two-plus 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 18-3 mark over its past 21 NEC regular season home games. Including the playoffs, the Mount has won 21 of its past 24 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 173-120 (.590) record at Knott Arena.
Cajou at the Line...Senior guard Jean is second all-time at the Mount in career free throw percentage.
* Cajou is shooting 81.7 percent (236-for-289) 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 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.
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 20 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.
Norfleet Named NEC Co-Rookie of the Week...Freshman Julian Norfleet was named the Northeast Conference Co-Rookie of the Week on November 20.
* 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 Cincinnati, Norfleet 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.
Global Sports Main Event...The Mount finished in third place in the Global Sports Main Event, a five-team round robin in-season tournament.
* Cincinnati won the event with a perfect 4-0 mark, followed by Dayton (3-1), the Mount (2-2), Florida A&M (1-3) and Savannah State (0-4).
* The Mount has not participated in an in-season tournament since the 2005 San Juan Shootout. The Mountaineers lost to Akron (74-61) and Chattanooga (85-74, ot) before downing Liberty (63-59) at the event.
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).