Loretto, Pa. (February 26, 2011)-Lamar Trice scored 17 points to lead Mount St. Mary's past Saint Francis (Pa.), 64-55, on Saturday night in the final game of the regular season. The Mount led by 23 points early in the second half and withstood a Saint Francis rally to post the victory. With the win, the Mount secured the seventh seed in the upcoming NEC Tournament.
The Mount (11-20, 9-9 NEC) will open the Northeast Conference Tournament at second-seeded Quinnipiac on Thursday, March 3rd, at 7:00 p.m. The two teams split the season series as Mount St. Mary's lost at Quinnipiac, 77-75, with a shot with 0.5 seconds left and defeated the Bobcats, 72-63, at home.
Mount St. Mary's scored the first four points of the second half to grab its biggest lead of the game, 42-19, with 18:35 left in the contest.
The Red Flash (9-20, 7-11 NEC) whittled the deficit to 51-46 after a bucket from Umar Shannon with 4:44 remaining. Mount St. Mary's, however, answered with six consecutive points to restore the lead to double figures. Shawn Atupem converted a lay-up on a baseline inbounds play to start the run ahead of a jumper and a pair of free throws from Trice. From there, the Mount hit five free throws to preserve the victory.
Trice led a balanced Mount St. Mary's attack with 17 points, five assists and three steals while Atupem added 12 points and five rebounds in the victory. Julian Norfleet chipped in nine points with Raven Barber adding eight points, five rebounds and a career-high five blocks in the victory. David Golladay added seven points and a career-high eight boards with Danny Thompson chipping in five points and 12 rebounds off the bench for the Mountaineers.
Shannon finished with a game-high 20 points for Saint Francis (Pa.), hitting 13-of-14 at the line in the game.
The Mount held the Red Flash to 34.0 percent shooting overall, including 2-of-13 from three-point range. The Mountaineers shot 49.0 percent in the game while holding a 37-27 advantage on the boards. Mount St. Mary's also blocked nine in the victory.
The Mount took control of the game from the onset, scoring the first seven points on an Atupem lay-up, a Golladay tip-in and a Trice three-point basket. The Mountaineers stretched the lead to 18-7 on a Thompson bucket before the Red Flash answered with a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 18-13.
The Mount answered the Saint Francis run by scoring the next 11 points of the game to take a 29-13 advantage. Norfleet opened the run with a three-pointer ahead of baskets from Atupem and Jacolby Wells. Norfleet converted on the break and Atupem finished the spurt with a hook shot.
Mount St. Mary's stretched the margin to as much as 21 points, 38-17, before settling for a 19-point halftime advantage.
The Mount shot 58.6 percent from the field in the opening half while hitting 4-of-6 three-pointers. Saint Francis was just 6-of-20 (.300) from the floor in the opening half and was 0-for-5 from beyond the arc.
Trice led all first-half scorers with 13 points while Norfleet added seven and Atupem six in the half. Shannon had six points to lead the Red Flash at the break.
Game Notes: The Mount has qualified for the NEC Tournament in each of the past six years, posting at least a .500 record in conference play each time....The Mount has won 12 of the past 13 meetings with the Red Flash.