Emmitsburg, Md. (February 3, 2018)--Greg Alexander and Jonah Antonio hit key free throws in the final 39 seconds as Mount St. Mary's grinded out a 59-56 win over visiting Saint Francis U on Saturday afternoon before another near-capacity crowd at Knott Arena. With the win, the Mount takes over sole possession of second place in the Northeast Conference standings.
The Mount took a 55-53 lead with 2:22 remaining when Greg Alexander slammed home a pass from Chris Wray. The Red Flash countered with a Jamaal King pull-up jumper, and got the ball back after a Mount missed three-pointer. SFU's Andre Wolford collected his own rebound on a missed three-pointer from the left corner, and then King was fouled on a tip-in attempt after a Keith Braxton miss from the short corner. King hit the first free throw to give Saint Francis a 56-55 lead with 39.7 seconds on the clock. King, however, missed the second, and Alexander was fouled on the rebound.
Alexander calmly sank both free throws to put the Mount (14-11, 8-4 NEC) ahead, 57-56. Saint Francis had a chance to take the lead, but Randall Gaskins, Jr., missed a three-pointer from the right corner, and the Mount's Antonio was fouled after he collected the rebound with 10.1 seconds left. Antonio sank both charity tosses to give the Mount a 59-56 advantage. Saint Francis had one last chance to tie the game, but King missed a three-pointer from the right wing, and the Mount was able secure its eighth-consecutive home victory.
Saint Francis (13-10, 7-5 NEC) used an 8-0 run in the second half to take a 44-38 lead. Donald Carey and Wray scored consecutive baskets to make it a two-point game, and the Red Flash maintained the narrow advantage until Antonio drained a three-pointer with 5:58 left to give the Mount a 51-49 lead. From there, there were four ties and four lead changes over the final four minutes of the game.
Junior Robinson paced Mount St. Mary's with a game-high 20 points while Antonio added 13 points in the win. Wray, who was limited to just two rebounds and six minutes due to foul trouble in the first half, finished with eight points (4-of-4 FG's), seven rebounds, five blocks and a pair of assists. Omar Habwe added seven points, five rebounds and two blocks for the Mount off the bench while Alexander finished with six points. King led Saint Francis U with 17 points while Braxton and Wolford chipped in 14 points each in the loss.
Mount St. Mary's shot 45.8 percent in the game, including 8-of-22 (.364) from three-point range. It is the first time in 10 games that the Mount has failed to make double figures in three-point field goals made. The Red Flash shot just 37.7 percent overall and were 4-of-22 (.182) from beyond the three-point arc.
Saint Francis came out of the gates strong, taking an 11-0 lead five minutes into the game. Mark Flagg scored in the paint to give Saint Francis a 13-2 advantage before the Mount found its offense. Habwe and Carey connected on three-pointers while Robinson added a bucket in the paint to make it 13-11. Robinson then drained a three-pointer to give the Mount a 14-13 advantage. Saint Francis answered with a pair of Wolford three-pointers during an 8-to-2 run for a 21-16 lead.
The Mount fought back, taking a 24-23 lead on a pair of long Robinson three-point baskets. The Red Flash took a 30-29 lead after a Flagg traditional three-point play, but Antonio hit a three-pointer from the left corner to give the Mount a 32-30 advantage at the half.
The Mountaineers, winners of eight of their past 10 games, head on the road for a pair of games next week at Central Connecticut (Feb. 8) and Bryant (Feb. 10).
Game Notes: Junior Robinson's 20-point effort gives him 1,709 career points, moving him into 10th place on the Mount's all-time scoring list...The Mount has won seven in a row against Saint Francis U, and 24 of the past 27 meetings between the two teams...Mount St. Mary's is 15-1 at Knott Arena against the Red Flash since 2005.