Big Second Half Pushes Mount St. Mary's to 75-69 Win at Bryant in NEC Quarterfinals
Smithfield, R.I. (March 6, 2013)—Rashad Whack scored 17 of his team-high 19 points in the second half to lead fifth-seeded Mount St. Mary's to a 75-69 win at fourth-seeded Bryant in the Northeast Conference Tournament Quarterfinals on Wednesday night. The Mount rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to earn the victory.
Trailing 39-32 early in the second half, the Mount went on a 7-0 run to even the score at 39-39. Shivaughn Wiggins started the streak with a three-point play while Kristijan Krajina and Whack added buckets to cap the run.
Whack then drilled a three-pointer to put the Mount ahead, 42-41, with 13:42 left in the game. It was the Mount's first lead since 4-2. After a Frankie Dobbs three-pointer gave Bryant the lead back, Whack made another three-point basket to put the Mount ahead 45-44 with just over 12 minutes remaining.
The lead changed hands three more times before an 11-2 run gave the Mount (17-13) a 58-50 advantage with 6:28 on the clock. Raven Barber started the run with a pair of free throws, Julian Norfleet added a nice pull-up jumper, and Whack converted 2-of-2 at the line for a 53-48 lead. After a Bryant basket, Whack connected on a three-pointer and Wiggins scored on the fast break to give the Mountaineers the eight-point advantage.
Bryant (19-11) did not go away, getting back-to-back buckets from Vlad Kondratyev to make it 58-54. Norfleet, however, silenced the crowd with a three-point basket for a 61-54 advantage with 5:00 on the clock. Bryant cut the gap to 65-61 with just under three minutes left, but Wiggins converted a drive in the paint and hit two free throws with 1:28 left to push the lead back to eight.
Dobbs nailed a three-pointer for Bryant and Corey Maynard had a chance to make it a one-possession game with 42 seconds left, but he missed the front end of the one-and-one. From there, the Mount iced the game with four straight free throws for the win.
Whack led the Mountaineers with 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Wiggins added 16 points, while Norfleet and Barber chipped in 14 each in the win. The Mount went 26-of-27 (.963) at the foul line for the win. The performance at the charity stripe is the fifth-best single-game mark in Mount history.
Alex Francis had 25 points and eight rebounds in the loss while Dyami Starks chipped in 19 points and eight boards.
The Mount outscored Bryant 47-34 in the second half, shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 15-of-15 at the foul line. Mount St. Mary's committed just two turnovers in the second half.
In the first half, the Mountaineers took an early 4-2 lead on a pair of Barber baskets, but the Bulldogs countered with a 7-0 spurt to take a 9-4 advantage.
The Mount fought back, cutting the deficit to 16-15 on a Prescott three-pointer with 11:23 left in the opening half. The Bulldogs, however, pulled out to a 30-24 lead with 4:08 left on a Francis jump shot. Barber and Norfleet each went 2-for-2 at the line to make it 30-28, but Starks scored a lay-up and a three-pointer in the final minute to grab a seven-point halftime lead.
The Mountaineers struggled from the floor in the first half, shooting just 7-of-25 (.280) from the field and 3-of-11 (.273) from three-point range. The Mount scored one basket in the final 11:20 of the half, but stayed in the game by hitting 11 of 12 free throws over that stretch.
Francis (14) and Starks (12) combined to score 26 of Bryant's 35 first-half points. The Bulldogs shot 48.4 percent in the opening half and committed just five turnovers.
The Mount will travel to Moon Township, Pa., to face top-seeded Robert Morris in the NEC semifinals on Saturday, March 9, at 2:30 p.m.
Game Notes: The Mount is now 19-13 all-time in the NEC Tournament, including a 11-5 mark in the NEC Quarterfinals…Mount St. Mary's is 8-2 all-time against Bryant...The Mount has now won eight games in a row, tying for the third-longest win streak in the school's Division I era (since 1988-89).