The Mount St. Mary's men's basketball team's run to the Northeast Conference Championship game captures the top moment in the Mount Athletic Department's Top 20 moments of 2012-13.
The Mountaineers rattled off nine consecutive wins to earn a spot in the Northeast Conference Championship game last March. After finishing the regular season as the hottest team in the NEC with seven consecutive wins, the Mountaineers became road warriors in the NEC playoffs, besting Bryant and top-seeded Robert Morris to advance to the title game.
The scintillating playoff run began with a second-half rally in a 75-69 victory at fourth-seeded Bryant before a packed house. Rashad Whack fueled the comeback, scoring 17 of his team-high 19 points in the second half as the Mount rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit.
Whack scored five points during an 11-2 run that pushed gave the Mount the lead, 58-50, with 6:28 left in the game. Bryant scored the next four points, but Norfleet silenced the crowd with a three-pointer with 5:00 left that pushed the advantage back to seven. Leading 65-61 with just under three minutes left, the Mount's Shivaughn Wiggins scored four consecutive points to give the Mount a 69-61 advantage, and the Mount closed out the win from there.
The Mountaineers journey continued to Robert Morris for a matchup with the top-seeded Colonials. Whack poured in a career-high 26 points to lead the Mount to a 69-60 upset victory to move the team to its third NEC title game over the past six seasons.
Leading 35-27 early in the second half, Mount starting point guard Julian Norfleet went down with an ankle injury. However, the Mount responded with a 12-2 run to take control of the game. Sam Prescott started the streak with a three-pointer, and Whack followed with a difficult three-pointer from the right wing to stretch the lead to 42-29. Prescott then converted a traditional three-point play on the fast break, and Whack a breakaway layup after a steal that gave the Mount an 18-point lead with just over nine minutes left in the game.
The Mountaineers saw their magical run end in the NEC Championships game with a 91-70 loss to LIU Brooklyn. Prescott led the way for the Mount with 21 points in the game.
The Mount held a 31-29 lead late in the opening half, but the Blackbirds scored the final six points of the opening stanza for a 35-31 lead at the break. LIU then opened the second half with a 14-to-4 run to take a 49-35 advantage, and the Mount was unable to cut the deficit under double digits the rest of the way.
The Mount's late-season run capped a tremendous first season for first-year head coach Jamion Christian, who forged the team's identity with its Mayhem style of play that featured a pressing defense with an offense reliant upon three-pointers.
The Mount ended the year with an 18-14 record, an 8.5-game improvement from the previous season. The Mountaineers broke school records for three-pointers attempted and made in a season, while the finishing among the nation's leaders in turnover and steal percentage on the defensive end.
2012-13 Top 20 Moments
20. Alicia Mirando Scores Twice to Beat FDU, Continues Mount's Strong Season
19. Emmit S. Burg Arrives on Campus
18. Mount Athletics Celebrates Women in Sports
17. Vanessa Blair Joins NEC Hall of Fame
16. Amanda Reach Ties for Sixth at NEC Championships
15. Kelly Conroy Earns Academic All-America Status
14. Tommy Gruschow Finishes Second at NEC Cross Country Championships
13. Brett Schmidt Drafted by Rochester Rattlers in Major League Lacrosse Draft
12. Women's Lacrosse Beats Quinnipiac On Kaitlyn Larrimore's Five Goals
11. Women's Basketball Takes Down Seton Hall, 74-64
10. Mike Salomon Breaks Career Singles Wins Record
9. Jon Fernandez Breaks Own School Record in Javelin to Qualify for NCAA Regional
8. Elissa Ingram Breaks Conference Record to Win Pole Vault Crown at NEC Championships
7. Nicole Pagano Sets Career Strikeout Record
6. Women's Basketball Qualifies for NEC Semifinals
5. Tom Healy Earns National Recognition For Standout Weekend
4. Andrew Scalley Named Northeast Conference Offensive Player of the Year
3. Sam Prescott Pours in 44 Points to Lead Mount to Win over Bryant
2. Mark Quaranta Named Northeast Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year
1. Men's Basketball Team's Run to the NEC Championship Game