Emmitsburg, Md. (January 12, 2012)--A furious second-half rally came up short as Mount St. Mary's fell to Northeast Conference Co-Leader Central Connecticut State, 71-66, on Thursday night at Knott Arena. The Mount rallied from a 15-point second-half deficit to even the score, but could not come away with the victory.
Kristijan Krajina posted a career high 16 points in the loss while Julian Norfleet added 13 points and a game-high seven assists. Josh Castellanos chipped in 11 points while Danny Thompson added 10 points and nine boards in the game.
Ken Horton led Central Connecticut State with 23 points and nine rebounds while Kyle Vinales and Robby Ptacek chipped in 14 each.
Trailing 54-39 with 12:42 left in the game, the Mount (3-13, 1-4 NEC) went on a 20-5 run over the next five and a half minutes to even the score at 59-59. Norfleet started the run with a three-pointer ahead of a Kelvin Parker bucket. After a CCSU (8-7, 5-0 NEC) free throw, Raven Barber scored in the paint, Norfleet hit a pair of free throws, Parker drained a three-pointer and Castellanos hit a free throw to cut the deficit to 55-52.
After a pair of Vinales free throws, Barber again scored in the paint and Norfleet added another jumper to make the score 57-56. Ken Horton answered with a basket in the paint, but Barber then hit three free throws on the next two possessions to tie the game at 59-59 with 7:07 remaining.
Central Connecticut State regained the lead on a David Simmons dunk and Vinales followed with a drive to the bucket, but Krajina converted a traditional three-point play for the Mount to make the score 63-62.
The Blue Devils then stretched the lead to 69-63 on a Robby Ptacek three-pointer with 2:15 left, but Castellanos countered on the next possession with a three of his own to make it 69-66 with 2:00 on the clock.
The Mount got stops on the next two defensive possessions, and had the ball with 42 seconds remaining. The Mount, however, was called for a charge, giving the ball back to CCSU. The Mount defense came through again, forcing a turnover, but Parker missed in the lane with 14 seconds remaining and CCSU's Vinales was fouled with nine ticks left. He hit both free throws to seal the 71-66 win.
The Mount hit 10 of its first 11 shots en route to shooting a sizzling 60 percent in the second half. Overall, the Mount shot 49.1 percent, but committed 22 turnovers in the contest.
CCSU shot 43.9 percent in the game, but was 18-for-23 at the charity stripe.
The Mount pulled out to an early 19-13 lead and held a 30-26 lead with 2:49 left in the half, but CCSU responded by scoring the final 10 points of the opening half, including a three-pointer by Vinales at the buzzer, to take a 36-30 lead.
The Mount returns to action on Saturday, January 14, against Bryant at Knott Arena. Tip-off is slated for 1:00 p.m.
Game Notes: Julian Norfleet has scored double figures in each of the past five games...Thompson had 10 points and nine rebounds, all in the first half...He was limited to three minutes in the second half due to foul trouble.