Emmitsburg, Md. (February 19, 2011)--Mount St. Mary's lost to Northeast Conference leader Long Island, 84-64, on Saturday night at Knott Arena. Senior Shawn Atupem matched a career high with 23 points for the Mountaineers (10-19, 8-8), which clinched a spot in the NEC Tournament despite the loss.
Atupem finished the game 11-for-15 from the field for his 23 points while adding seven rebounds. Raven Barber added 11 points off the bench with Danny Thompson chipping in 10 points, seven rebounds, four blocks and two steals in the game.
Long Island had six players in double figures, led by Julian Boyd's double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds. Jamal Olasewere added 13 points and 10 rebounds with David Hicks finishing with 13 in the game as well. Michael Culpo (11), Kyle Johnson (10) and Jason Brickman (10) also reached double figures in the win.
Trailing 44-24 at the half, the Mount opened the second half with a 10-3 spurt to cut the deficit to 47-34. Atupem scored six of his points during the run. Long Island, however, answered by scoring the next seven points of the game and led comfortably the rest of the way.
The Mount shot 56.7 percent (17-of-30) from the field in the second half and converted 45.8 percent in the game. Long Island shot 43.9 percent in thecontest, but held a 51-31 edge on the boards. The Blackbirds had 24 offensive rebounds in the game, leading to 24 second-chance points.
Long Island (22-5, 14-2 NEC) took control of the game with a 15-to-1 run in the first half to take a 33-16 lead. The Mount's Barber scored in the paint to cut LIU's lead to 18-to-15, but LIU's Johnson answered on the other end to start to the streak. Brickman and Olasewere then had back-to-back steals and baskets to stretch the lead to nine. The Blackbirds ended the run with back-to-back three-pointers from Hicks and Culpo. The Mount trailed 44-24 at the half after Hicks banked in a three-pointer as the first half closed.
The Mountaineers clinched a spot in the upcoming Northeast Conference Tournament despite tonight's loss. Monmouth's home loss to Robert Morris allowed the Mount to earn its sixth-consecutive NEC Tournament appearance. The Mount is currently tied for sixth place in the league standings with the top eight making the playoffs. The top four teams earn a first-round home playoff game.
It was the final regular season home game for the Mount with seniors Atupem, Jean Cajou and Tayvon Jackson honored before the game. All three players were in the starting lineup. Cajou had four points and two rebounds in the game with Jackson chipping in two rebounds as well.
The Mount returns to action on Thursday, February 24, with a 7:00 p.m. game at rival Robert Morris. The Mount and Robert Morris have met in each of the past five NEC Tournaments and this will be the 17th meeting between the two schools since the 2005-06 season.