Mount St. Mary's and Robert Morris Meet Thursday in Latest Installment of Rivalry

Mount St. Mary's (10-19, 8-8 NEC) at Robert Morris (14-13, 10-6 NEC)
Thursday, February 24, 2011, 7 pm
Sewall Center, Moon Township, Pa.
Television: MASN (Mid-Atlantic Sports Network)

Mount St. Mary's resumes its rivalry with Robert Morris on Thursday night at the Sewall Center in Moon Township, Pa. This will be the 17th meeting between the two squads since the 2005-06 season. The two teams have squared off in the Northeast Conference Tournament in each of the past five seasons. The game will be televised live on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network

Robert Morris has won 11 of the previous 16 matchups between the two schools, including a 51-48 victory at the Mount's Knott Arena on January 8th. Ten of those 16 games have been decided by five points or less in what has become one of the top rivalries in the NEC.

The Mount has lost three consecutive games to fall to 8-8 in the NEC and 10-19 overall. Mount St. Mary's is coming off an 84-64 loss to NEC regular season champion Long Island on Saturday. Senior Shawn Atupem matched a career high with 23 points in the loss while Raven Barber added 11 points.

Robert Morris won four in a row to take sole possession of fourth place in the NEC standings. The Colonials are 14-13 on the season and 10-6 in conference play.

Russell Johnson scored with two seconds left to lift Robert Morris to a 62-60 win at Monmouth on Saturday. Coron Williams came off the bench to hit all five of his three-point attempts to lead RMU with 15 points in the game. Johnson added 13 points and nine rebounds while Velton Jones chipped in 12 points and eight boards.

Karon Abraham is the top scorer for Robert Morris at 13.9 points per game while Jones and Johnson are each averaging 11.1 points per contest. Johnson is the top rebounder at 7.0 per game while freshman Anthony Myers leads the team with 105 assists. Robert Morris is 8-2 at home this year, including 5-2 against NEC opponents.

THIS DATE IN MOUNT HISTORY...Mount St. Mary's scored 63 points in the second half to defeat Marist, 113-91, on February 24, 1994. Chris McGuthrie had 23 points and 10 assists while Doug John also added 23 points in the victory. Izett Buchanan paced Marist with 31 points and 16 boards while Alan Tomidy chipped in 27 points in the loss. The Mount was 42-for-70 (.600) from the field and 11-of-21 (.524) from three-point range in the game that left both teams 13-12 overall and 9-8 in NEC play.

The All-Time Series... This will be the 51st meeting all-time between the Mount and Robert Morris.

* This will be the 17th meeting between the two teams since 2005-06. Robert Morris has won 11 of the 16 matchups in that span with 10 of the games being decided by five points or less. The teams have played in each of the past five NEC Tournaments.

* The Mount posted an 83-65 win over Robert Morris in the NEC Semifinals in 2008 en route to the NEC Championship that year.

* In 2009, the Colonials edged Mount St. Mary's, 48-46, on Dallas Green's jumper with 2.5 seconds left in the NEC Championship game.

* The Mountaineers won 13 games in a row against the Colonials from 1994-2000.

Last Time Out...The Mount lost to Long Island, 84-64, on Saturday night in the final home game of the regular season.

* Shawn Atupem paced the Mount with 23 points and seven assists. He was 11-for-15 from the floor in the game and matched his career high of 23 points in 23 minutes of action.

* Long Island jumped out to a 33-16 advantage and pushed the margin to 44-24 at the half. The Mount opened the second half with a 10-3 run, but the Blackbirds scored the next seven points and cruised to the win from there.

* The Mount shot 56.7 percent (17-of-30) from the field in the second half, but was just 9-of-23 (.391) at the charity stripe in the game.

* Long Island posted 24 offensive rebounds in the game, leading to 24 second-chance points.

Playoff Picture...The Mount has clinched a spot in the Northeast Conference Tournament for the sixth consecutive season.

* Mount St. Mary's can finish anywhere from fifth to eighth in the standings. The Mount cannot host a first-round playoff game.

* The Mount's six consecutive NEC Tournament appearances is tied for the third-best mark in the league. Central Connecticut State has appeared in 13 consecutive NEC Tournaments, followed by Robert Morris with eight and the Mount and Quinnipiac six straight.

The Mount and Robert Morris...Inside the Rivalry...This will be the 17th meeting between the Mount and Robert Morris since the 2005-06 season.

* Robert Morris has won 11 of the previous 16 matchups between the two squads, including a 51-48 victory at the Mount on Jan. 8.

* The two teams have met in each of the past five NEC Tournaments with the Mount posting a 2-3 record in those games.

* Ten of the previous 16 games in the series have been decided by five points or less. The Mount has a 3-7 record in those games.

* The rivalry began in 2006 when Robert Morris freshman Jeremy Chappell drained a three-pointer with 10 seconds left to lift the Colonials to a 67-66 win at the Mount in the NEC Quarterfinals.

* The next season, the Mount returned the favor with a 78-61 win at Robert Morris in the Quarterfinal round.

* In 2008, Mount St. Mary's stunned top-seeded Robert Morris in the NEC semifinals with a convincing 83-65 victory at the Sewall Center. The Mount went on to win the NEC title that year, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.

* The next season, the Mount and Robert Morris met in the NEC Championship game. The Colonials were able to squeak out a 48-46 victory on a Dallas Green jumper with 2.5 seconds left in the game.

* Last season, Robert Morris posted an 80-62 win over the Mount in the NEC semifinals en route to its second-straight NEC title.

Atupem Rising....Senior Shawn Atupem has picked up his play on the offensive end.

* Atupem is averaging 15.2 points and 5.8 rebounds over the past five games. The senior is shooting 80.0 percent (24-of-30) from the field over his past four games.

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

* The 6-7 forward leads the NEC in field goal percentage in NEC games at 60.0 percent.

* For the season, he is averaging 10.8 points and 5.0 rebounds while converting 51.5 percent from the field. Atupem leads the team with 29 steals and is shooting 72.0 percent (72-of-100) at the foul line this year after converting just 47.0 percent (47-of-100) last season.

Getting Defensive...The Mountaineers have been one of the top defensive teams in the NEC over the past few seasons and have been so this year in league play.

* In league play, the Mount is third in the conference in scoring defense (63.5) and is third in field goal percentage defense (.412). Overall, the Mountaineers are fourth in scoring defense (66.4) and sixth in field goal percentage defense (.426).

Taking Charge...Senior forward Shawn Atupem leads the Mount this season with 20 charges taken.

* The 6-7 forward has now drawn 56 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.

Cajou Finding Rhythm...Senior guard Jean Cajou scored a season-high 13 points in the Mount's win over Wagner.

* Cajou has scored in double figures in two of the past five games, averaging 8.8 points and 3.2 rebounds over that span.

* For the season, Cajou is averaging 5.6 points in 13 games played. He is shooting 35.4 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from three-point range.

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.

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 39.0 percent (46-for-118) from three-point range over the past seven games and are fifth in the Northeast Conference in three-point percentage in NEC games (.362).

* Overall, the Mount is 10th in the NEC in three-point percentage (.321) and last in three-point field goals made per game (4.62).

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 13.0 points per game, having scored in double figures in 21 of the team's 29 games on the year. He has scored 15 or more points a team-best 14 times this year.

* The 5-11 guard has improved his scoring average by 11.1 points from last season, a whopping 584 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 13.9 points per game. He has improved his scoring average in NEC games by 13.0 points per game from last year. Trice averaged 0.9 points while appearing in 16 NEC contests.

* Trice scored a career-best 22 points in the win at St. Francis (N.Y.) and added 21 in the victory at Sacred Heart.

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.

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.

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 8-8 so far this year in the NEC, has posted three-straight winning seasons in conference play. The Mount has also posted five consecutive .500 or better seasons in league play, 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 63-43 (.594) 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 66.7 points while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from three-point range in the team's 10 wins.

* In the 19 losses, the Mount is averaging 57.5 points while shooting 39.2 percent from the field and 28.4 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 10-8 this season when shooting 40 percent or better and 0-11 when shooting under 40 percent. In addition, the Mount is 10-6 when recording a higher field goal percentage than the opponent and 0-13 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 29 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).