Mount St. Mary's closes out the regular season at Saint Francis (Pa.) on Saturday night. The Mount has lost four games in a row to drop to 10-20 overall and 8-9 in NEC play.
Junior guard Lamar Trice scored a career high 24 points on Thursday night, but it was not enough as Robert Morris earned a 65-57 victory in one of the top rivalries in the Northeast Conference. The Mount rallied from an 11-point second half deficit to make the score 56-53 with just under three minutes left, but the Colonials made enough plays down the stretch to hold on for the victory.
Mount St. Mary's has lost its last four road games and is 2-15 away from Knott Arena this season.
The Mount can finish anywhere from sixth to eight place in the NEC standings. The Mountaineers can finish sixth with a win, a Wagner win and a St. Francis (N.Y.) loss and Quinnipiac finishing in second place. A Mount loss results in the eighth seed.
Trice, one of the most improved players in the NEC, leads the team in scoring at 13.4 points per game. He has improved his scoring average by 11.5 points from last season. Shawn Atupem is the only other Mountaineer in double figures at 10.5 points per game.
The Red Flash clinched the final spot in the NEC Tournament with an 84-78 home victory over Wagner on Thursday night. Will Felder poured in a career high 30 points while adding 13 boards in the win.
Umar Shannon leads the Red Flash in scoring at 16.1 points per game, including an 18.4 scoring average in league games. Felder averages 11.3 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per contest.
THIS DATE IN MOUNT HISTORY...The Mount tallied 21 steals in a 102-49 thrashing of Allentown on Feb. 26, 1983...Also on this date, the Mount defeated Sacred Heart, 85-75, on Feb. 26, 2004...That victory started a three-game win streak that allowed the Mountaineers to sneak into the NEC Tournament for the first time in three seasons...The win gave the Mount the tiebreaker over the Pioneers, and on the final day of the season, the Mount defeated Monmouth while Sacred Heart fell to Wagner to seal the playoff bid.
The All-Time Series...Mount St. Mary's holds a 36-28 lead in the all-time series that began in 1916.
* The Mount has won three straight and 11 of the past 12 meetings in the all-time series.
* Mount St. Mary's, however, is just 8-19 all-time in Loretto, including a 77-70 loss at DeGol Arena last year.
* Last year, the Mount won two of three meetings between the two teams, including a 65-50 victory in the quarterfinals of the Northeast Conference Tournament.
Last Time Out...Mount St. Mary's lost to rival Robert Morris, 65-57, on Thursday night.
* Junior guard Lamar Trice poured in a career high 24 points in the loss. It was Trice's third 20-point game of the year.
* Robert Morris went on a 14-0 first-half run to take a 25-16 lead, but the Mount was able to cut the deficit to 29-27 at the half.
* In the second half, a 10-0 RMU run broke open a 39-38 game. The Mount again rallied, cutting the deficit to 56-53 before the Colonials pulled out the victory.
* It was the 17th meeting between the two teams since the start of the 2005-06 season. Robert Morris has won 12 of the 17 games with 10 of the contests being decided by five points or less.
Checking In with Atupem....Senior Shawn Atupem has picked up his play on the offensive end.
* Atupem is averaging 13.0 points and 5.7 rebounds over the past six games. The senior is shooting 75.8 percent (25-of-33) from the field over his past five games.
* Atupem matched a career high with 23 points in the Mount's loss to Long Island. It was the second 20-point game of the season for Atupem and third of his career.
* The 6-7 forward is second in the NEC in field goal percentage in NEC games at 59.3 percent.
* For the season, he is averaging 10.5 points and 5.0 rebounds while converting 51.3 percent from the field. Atupem leads the team with 29 steals and is shooting 71.3 percent (72-of-101) at the foul line this year after converting just 47.0 percent (47-of-100) last season.
Getting Defensive...The Mountaineers have been one of the top defensive teams in the NEC over the past few seasons and have been so this year in league play.
* In league play, the Mount is third in the conference in scoring defense (63.6) and is third in field goal percentage defense (.413). Overall, the Mountaineers are fourth in scoring defense (66.4) and sixth in field goal percentage defense (.426).
Taking Care of the Ball...Mount St. Mary's committed just five turnovers in the 70-59 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson.
* The five turnovers were the fewest in a game by a Mount team since Jan. 20, 1997, when the Mount had five turnovers against St. Francis (N.Y.).
* The fewest turnovers in a game by a Mount team since moving to NCAA Division I was three against VMI on Dec. 29, 1989.
Taking Charge...Senior forward Shawn Atupem leads the Mount this season with 20 charges taken.
* The 6-7 forward has now drawn 56 charge calls in his career at the Mount.
* Atupem has led the Mount in charges taken in each of the past two seasons. In 2008-09, he tied for the team lead with older brother, Sam., with 14. As a freshman, he was second on the squad to his brother.
Dialing Long Distance...The Mount hit a season-high nine three-pointers in the team's 56-54 win over Monmouth.
* The Mount has picked up its three-point shooting as the season has progressed. The Mountaineers are shooting 38.1 percent (53-for-139) from three-point range over the past eight games and are tied for third in the Northeast Conference in three-point percentage in NEC games (.360).
* Overall, the Mount is 10th in the NEC in three-point percentage (.321) and last in three-point field goals made per game (4.70).
Trice as Nice...Junior guard Lamar Trice is one of the most-improved players in the Northeast Conference.
* Trice leads the Mount in scoring at 13.4 points per game, having scored in double figures in 22 of the team's 30 games on the year. He has scored 15 or more points a team-best 15 times this year.
* The 5-11 guard has improved his scoring average by 11.5 points from last season, a whopping 605 percent increase. Trice averaged 1.9 points per game in limited action last season for the Mountaineers.
* Trice has been even better in Northeast Conference play, averaging 14.5 points per game. He has improved his scoring average in NEC games by 13.6 points per game from last year. Trice averaged 0.9 points while appearing in 16 NEC contests.
* Trice is coming off a career high 24 points effort at Robert Morris on Thursday night.
Block Party...Mount St. Mary's had a season-high 10 blocked shots in the 70-59 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson.
* The 10 blocks were the most by a Mount team since Feb. 10, 2001, when the Mount had 10 blocked shots against Long Island.
* Six different players combined for the Mount's 10 blocks in the game. Danny Thompson had three, Shawn Atupem and Julian Norfleet two each, and Julian Norfleet, David Golladay and Jacolby Wells added one block apiece in the victory.
Mount Wins at the Buzzer...Julian Norfleet's three-pointer with 0.6 seconds left in the Mount's 56-54 win over Monmouth was the team's first last-second game-winning shot since 2003.
* The last time the Mount won with a last-second shot was when Landy Thompson scored the game-winning basket at the buzzer in a 54-53 win at Navy on Dec. 27, 2003.
* The Mount has had several games decided in the final seconds this season. Quinnipiac's James Johnson scored with 0.5 seconds left to down the Mount, 77-75. At Penn State with the score tied 53-53, Talor Battle hit a 30-foot three-pointer with 1.3 seconds on the clock to lift the Nittany Lions to the victory. The Mount lost at Bryant, 62-60, when Alex Francis drove the lane and his shot bounced through the net as the final buzzer sounded.
For Comparison Sake...The Mountaineers are definitely faring better statistically in NEC play so far this season.
* The Mount is third in the league in field goal percentage (.445) and tied for third in three-point percentage (.360) in NEC games.
MSM and the NEC..Mount St. Mary's has completed the non-conference portion of the schedule and will play only Northeast Conference games the rest of the way.
* Mount St. Mary's, which is 8-9 so far this year in the NEC, has posted three-straight winning seasons in conference play. The Mount has also posted five consecutive .500 or better seasons in league play, joining Robert Morris as the only teams in the NEC to achieve that feat.
* Since the start of the 2005-06 season, the Mount is 63-44 (.589) in NEC regular season games.
* The Mount has advanced to at least the NEC Tournament semifinals in each of the past four years. The Mount won the NEC in 2008 and lost in the NEC Championship game the following season in 2009.
* The Mount is 22-5 in NEC regular season games at Knott Arena over the past three seasons.
* Overall, the Mountaineers are 25-5 over their past 30 home games against NEC opponents including the playoffs.
* The Mount's 77-75 loss to Quinnipiac in early December snapped the team's 11-game NEC regular season win streak. That 11-game streak matched the school record of 11 NEC wins in a row set in 1994-96.
Cajou Reaches Milestone...Senior Jean Cajou scored eight points in the Mount's 70-59 win over Fairleigh Dickinson to become the 43rd player in Mount history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Cajou reached the milestone with a lay-up with 4:20 left in the win over the Knights.
* He joins teammate Shawn Atupem in the 1,000-point club. Atupem hit the mark with a pair of free throws against Quinnipiac on January 22.
Wins vs. Losses...A look inside the numbers in the Mount's wins vs. losses.
* Mount St. Mary's is averaging 66.7 points while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from three-point range in the team's 10 wins.
* In the 20 losses, the Mount is averaging 57.5 points while shooting 39.0 percent from the field and 29.0 percent from three-point range.
Thievery...Senior Shawn Atupem tallied a career-high six steals in the Mount's 72-63 win over Quinnipiac.
* The six steals were the most by a Mount player since Jeremy Goode had seven in a 70-59 win over Loyola on December 1, 2007.
From the Field...The Mountaineers shot a season-best 68.8 percent (11-of-16) from the floor in the first half of the win over Wagner at Knott Arena. The Mount went on to shoot 55.8 percent in the game, the third time this year the team has topped 50 percent in shooting.
* Mount St. Mary's shot a season-high 58.1 percent (25-of-43) in the 70-61 win at St. Francis (N.Y.). Mount St. Mary's shot 54.4 percent (31-of-57) in the 77-75 loss at Quinnipiac.
* The Mountaineers are 10-8 this season when shooting 40 percent or better and 0-12 when shooting under 40 percent. In addition, the Mount is 10-6 when recording a higher field goal percentage than the opponent and 0-14 when the opposition shoots better.
Defending the Knott...The Mount has made Knott Arena a difficult place for the opposition in recent years.
* Mount St. Mary's had its 11-game homecourt win streak snapped by Navy, 81-68, on November 29. It was the Mount's second 11-game homecourt win streak since the start of the 2008-09 season.
* Mount St. Mary's is 30-10 (.750 winning pct.) at home over the past three seasons. Last year, the Mount went 10-3 at home after posting a 12-2 mark at Knott Arena in 2008-09.
* The Mount has been even better in Northeast Conference play, posting a 22-5 mark over its past 27 NEC regular season home games. Including the playoffs, the Mount has won 25 of its past 30 home games against NEC opponents on Jim Phelan Court.
Cajou at the Line...Senior guard Jean is second all-time at the Mount in career free throw percentage.
* Cajou is shooting 81.9 percent (263-for-321) in his career at the charity stripe.
* Mark Scallion (1983-87) is the Mount's all-time leader in free throw percentage at 84.8 percent (228-for-269).
Non-Conference Numbers...The Mount finished the non-conference schedule with a 2-11 mark, going 2-2 at home and 0-9 on the road.
* Since joining NCAA Division I, the Mountaineers have struggled in non-conference play. The Mountaineers are 62-152 (.290) in non-conference games since the move to Division I in 1988-89.
* Of those 214 non-conference games, 128 have been on the road, 66 at home and 20 at a neutral site.
* The Mount is 20-108 on the road, 35-31 at home and 7-13 at a neutral site in non-conference action since 1988-89.
* The Mount has had just one winning season in non-conference play at the Division I level. The 2002-03 team went 5-4 in non-conference action before finishing the season with a 11-16 record.
Freshmen in the Lineup...The Mount started a trio of freshmen (Josh Castellanos, David Golladay, Julian Norfleet) in seven games this year.
* It was the first time since Nov. 30, 2005, that the Mount had a trio of freshmen in the starting five. That game, Joey Butler, Sam Atupem and Markus Mitchell started against La Salle.
* Golladay and Norfleet started the first four games for the Mount this season. It was the first time the Mount has had a pair of freshmen in the starting lineup since Jeremy Goode and Kelly Beidler started at Maryland on Dec. 28, 2006.
Third Coach in 57 Years...Robert Burke became the third men's basketball coach in 57 years at the Mount when his hiring was announced on May 10.
* Burke comes to the Mount with 22 years of Division I coaching experience, including helping 10 of his last 12 teams reach the postseason and six NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 2007 Final Four with Georgetown. He has coached 39 players who earned all-conference honors. In addition, he was named one of the top-10 assistant coaches in country according to a peer survey conducted by Fox Sports in 2008.
* He was an assistant coach under Jeff Jones at American last year. The previous nine seasons, he worked with John Thompson III at Georgetown (five years) and Princeton (four years). Burke was an assistant for Paul Hewitt at Siena (three seasons) while also serving as an assistant at Loyola Marymount (three seasons) and Maryland-Baltimore County (six seasons).
* Legendary Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan was at the helm of the program for 49 years (1954-2003), posting 830 career wins. The Mount won the NCAA College Division National Championship in 1962 under Phelan while advancing to five NCAA Division II Final Fours. Phelan guided the Mount to the 1995 and 1999 NCAA Division I Tournaments.
* Milan Brown coached the Mount the past seven seasons, leading the team to the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
BCS Flavor...The Mount played four teams from BCS conferences this season, the most in school history.
* Mount St. Mary's has road games against Cincinnati (Big East), Penn State (Big 10), Northwestern (Big 10) and Virginia Tech (ACC).
* The Mount has played three BCS schools in the same season on 10 occasions, including each of the past four years.
Brown Out of the Lineup...Senior Pierre Brown is out indefinitely with a foot injury. Brown averaged averaged 2.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in 31 games last year and was expected to start this year. In addition, sophomore Kristijan Krajina, a 6-9 forward who averaged 1.6 points and 1.1 rebounds in 20 games played last season, has missed all 29 games this season with an ankle injury.
Mount Signs Taylor Danaher to NLI... Mount St. Mary's has signed Taylor Danaher (Fredericksburg, Va./Fredericksburg Christian School) to a National Letter of Intent to enroll at the Mount next fall.
* Danaher, a 6-10, 200-pound center with a 7-2 wingspan, averaged 24 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks per game as a junior while playing in the Central Virginia Homeschool Athletic Association.
* He was named First Team All-Tournament at the Homeschool Sports Network Championships last March. Danaher played AAU with the Hoop Booth organization.
Strong Debut...Freshman guard Julian Norfleet tallied 15 points in his collegiate debut at Dayton
* The 15 points were the most by a Mount player in their collegiate debut since 2002. Landy Thompson, who is eighth all-time at the Mount with 1,733 career points, had 28 points in his first collegiate game at North Carolina State on Nov. 22, 2002.
* The only other double-digit performance by a freshman in their first game at the Mount since 2002 was from Sam Atupem, who had 13 points at Virginia Tech on Nov. 18, 2005. Atupem is the older brother of current Mountaineer Shawn Atupem.
* Norfleet had 16 points in his Mount debut, the most by a Mount player in their first home game since Jeremy Goode had 18 in a double-overtime win against James Madison in the 2006 home opener.
International Appeal...Sophomore Kristijan Krajina is the Mount's first international player since Pat Atangana (Cameroon, 2000-04).
* The Mount has had three other European players in the team's history. Robert Balgac (1996-00, New Belgrade, Serbia), Gerben Van Dorpe (Erembodegem, Belgium, 1994-98) and Matt Meakin (Awsworth, England) are the others.
* Other international players to don the Mount uniform include Rodolpho Ruiz (Tampico, Mexico, 1920-24), Roberto Ruiz (Tampico, Mexico, 1926-27) and Paul Miller (Havana, Cuba, 1920-21).