Mount St. Mary's Wins Double-Overtime Thriller at Sacred Heart, 81-80

Fairfield, Conn. (January 28, 2012)—Josh Castellanos hit two free throws with 6.8 seconds left to lift Mount St. Mary's to a thrilling 81-80 double-overtime win at Sacred Heart on Saturday afternoon.  The Mount scored the final five points of the game to earn the victory.

Trailing 80-76, the Mount's Danny Thompson got the ball flying down the lane after the Mount broke the press. He slammed the ball home and was fouled on the play, hitting the free throw, to cut the deficit to 80-79 with 51.0 seconds left.

The Mount got a stop on the defensive end, and Castellanos was fouled driving to the basket with 6.8 seconds on the clock.  He calmly sank both free throws to put the Mount ahead, 81-80. 

On the final possession, Sacred Heart (10-13, 4-6 NEC) got the ball to Shane Gibson in the right corner, but Thompson blocked his three-point attempt.  Sacred Heart got a chance for the tip that didn't go, and the Mount (5-16, 3-7 NEC) pulled out the victory.

Castellanos led the Mount with a career high 19 points while adding six rebounds and three assists in the victory.  Julian Norfleet chipped in 16 points and seven boards while Thompson had 13 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for the Mountaineers.  Freshman Kelvin Parker added 11 points with Raven Barber adding 10 in the win.

The Mount survived a 41-point effort from Sacred Heart's Gibson, who was 16-for-28 from the field and 6-for-13 from three-point range in the game. Louis Montes had 11 points and Justin Swidowski 10 in the loss.

Sacred Heart rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to force the overtimes.  Trailing 49-38, the Pioneers rattled off 12 consecutive points to take the lead.  The Mount rebounded, using an 8-0 run to snap a 60-60 tie and take a 68-60 lead with 2:02 left in regulation.  Kelvin Parker keyed the run with two three-pointers, a steal, and an assist on a Castellanos lay-up.

The Pioneers were able to fight back, cutting the Mount advantage to 70-67 before Gibson drained a step-back three-pointer with 19 seconds on the clock.  Norfleet's runner on a drive to the basket and Thompson's putback attempt were off the mark, and the game went to overtime.

In the first overtime, Norfleet hit a jumper with 1:02 on the clock to give the Mount a 76-74 lead, but Sacred Heart's Montes answered with a pair of free throws with 36.5 seconds on the clock.  Norfleet's three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark, sending the game to its second overtime.

The Mount shot 40.9 percent from the field in the game and held a 45-34 advantage on the boards.  Sacred Heart shot 44.4 percent from the floor.

The Mount closed the first half on a 10-2 run to take a 36-29 lead into the locker room.  A Stan Dulaire free throw gave Sacred Heart a 27-26 lead, but the Mount countered with a Barber traditional three-point play on the next possession to regain the lead. 

After a Montes bucket for Sacred Heart, Norfleet drained a three on the break, Barber finished in the paint and Thompson's putback with two seconds left gave the Mount the 36-29 halftime advantage.

In the opening half, Norfleet tallied 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting to pace the Mountaineers.  Barber and Thompson added six points each in the opening half.

Gibson kept the Pioneers in the game in the first half, scoring 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including 3-of-5 from three-point range.

The Mount returns home to face Saint Francis (Pa.) on Thursday, February 2, at 7:00 p.m. at Knott Arena.

Game Notes:  It was the Mount's first multiple-overtime game since 78-76 quadruple-overtime win at Long Island on Jan. 4, 2007…The Mount is now 18-7 all-time against Sacred Heart, winning the past seven matchups…It was the Mount's second consecutive overtime game, as the Mountaineers lost to Quinnipiac, 69-66, in overtime on Thursday night.