Men's Basketball Set for Rematch with Wagner on Saturday Night

Men's Basketball Set for Rematch with Wagner on Saturday Night

Mount St. Mary's and Wagner concluded their home-and-home series on Saturday night at the Spiro Sports Center in Staten Island, N.Y. The Mount took the opening game of the series, 71-57, at home on Wednesday night. The series is part of the Northeast Conference's Rivalry Week.

Shawn Atupem scored 16 points and pulled down seven rebounds to pace Mount St. Mary's to a 71-57 victory over Wagner on Wednesday. Julian Norfleet added 14 points and senior Jean Cajou a season-high 13 points in the victory. Freshman Josh Castellanos matched career highs with 12 points and seven assists in the game.

Wagner rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to even the score at 42-42, but Atupem took over from there to help the Mount regain control. The senior forward had eight points and assisted on a Castellanos three-pointer that helped the Mount gain a 53-47 advantage. The Mountaineers made their final seven shots of the game to seal the victory.

The Mount shot 55.8 percent from the floor in the win over Wagner while holding the Seahawks to 34.0 percent shooting.

With the win, the Mountaineers move into a three-way tie for third place in the NEC standings with Wagner and Quinnipiac with 8-5 league marks. Long Island (11-2) and Central Connecticut State (10-3) have emerged as the front runners in the conference. The top four teams in the regular season earn a home game in the first round of the NEC Tournament.

Wagner is now 12-12 overall and 8-5 in the NEC after Wednesday's loss. Sophomore Tyler Murray leads the Seahawks in scoring at 17.0 points per game while Latif Rivers adds 14.7 per game. Rivers had a team-high 16 points on Wednesday. The Seahawks are averaging 66.9 points per game this year and lead the NEC in three-point shooting at 38.0 percent. Wagner is 7-3 at home this year, including 5-1 in NEC games.

THIS DATE IN MOUNT HISTORY...The Mount defeated St. Francis (N.Y.), 68-57, on Feb. 12, 2008 behind a solid all-around effort from Kelly Beidler. The 6-5 forward finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists in th win. Jeremy Goode added 16 points and eight assists while Jean Cajou chipped in 12 points in the victory. Jamaal Womack led St. Francis (N.Y.) with 17 points in the loss.

THE ALL-TIME SERIES...Wagner holds a 26-17 lead in the all-time series that dates back to the 1989-90 season.

* The Mount has won the past four meetings in the series and is 7-3 against the Seahawks over the past 10 matchups.

* Mount St. Mary's is just 8-14 all-time at home against Wagner, but is 5-1 over the past five meetings between the two teams in Emmitsburg.

* The Mount is 9-12 all-time against Wagner on the road. The Mount and Wagner have split the last six meetings in Staten Island.

* The Mount defeated the Seahawks, 72-62, in the 2009 NEC Quarterfinals at Knott Arena.

Last Time Out...
Mount St. Mary's posted a 71-57 win over Wagner on Wednesday night at Knott Arena.

* Senior Shawn Atupem had 16 points and seven rebounds to pace the Mountaineers in the win.

* Wagner rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to even the score at 42-42. Atupem, however, scored eight points and assists on a Josh Castellanos three-pointer in an 11-5 run that made the score 53-47. Julian Norfleet's three-pointer made the score 58-49 and the Mount was able to cruise to the win from there.

* Norfleet finished with 14 points while senior Jean Cajou added a season-high 13 in the win. Castellanos matched career highs in both points (12) and assists (seven) in the victory.

* Mount St. Mary's made its final seven shots of the game and shot 55.8 percent from the field in the game. The Mount held Wagner to 5-of-20 (.250) from three-point range and 34.0 percent overall from the field.

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 second in the league in scoring defense (61.5) and third in field goal percentage defense (.398). Overall, the Mountaineers second in scoring defense (65.7) and fifth in field goal percentage defense (.421).

* Over the past seven games, the Mount is allowing 58.7 points per game while holding the opposition to 38.1 percent from the field.

* During the Mount's current three-game win steak, the team is allowing just 56.7 points while holding the opponents to 37.1 percent shooting.

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.

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.

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 45.2 percent (19-of-42) from three-point range over the past three games and are second in the Northeast Conference in three-point percentaage in NEC games (.367).

* Overall, the Mount is 10th in the NEC in three-point percentage (.318) and last in three-point field goals made per game (4.62).

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 13.1 points per game, having scored in double figures in 19 of the team's 26 games on the year. He has scored 15 or more points a team-best 12 times this year.

* The 5-11 guard has improved his scoring average by 11.2 points from last season, a whopping 589 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 14.4 points per game. He has improved his scoring average in NEC games by 13.2 points per game from last year. Trice averaged 0.9 points while appearing in 16 NEC contests.

* Trice scored a career-best 22 points in the win at St. Francis (N.Y.) and added 21 in the victory at Sacred Heart.

Taking Charge...Senior forward Shawn Atupem leads the Mount this season with 16 charges taken.

* The 6-7 forward has now drawn 52 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.

Cajou Finding Rhythm...Senior guard Jean Cajou scored a season-high 13 points in the Mount's win over Wagner.

* It was the first double-figure scoring game for Cajou this season. He is averaging 10.5 points over the past two contests.

* Cajou is averaging 5.0 points in 10 games played this season.

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 8-5 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 63-40 (.612) in NEC regular season games. It is the third-most wins in the league in that stretch behind Robert Morris (72-31) and Central Connecticut State (65-38).

* 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 22-3 in NEC regular season games at Knott Arena over the past two-plus seasons.

* Overall, the Mountaineers are 25-3 over their past 28 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. The senior forward now has 1,011 points, good for 40th on the all-time list.

For Comparison Sake...The Mountaineers are definitely faring better statistically in NEC play so far this season.

* The Mount is second in the league in field goal percentage (.447) in league games and three-point percentage (.367). Overall, the Mount is seventh in field goal percentage (.413) and 10th in three-point percentage (.318).

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 16 losses, the Mount is averaging 56.5 points while shooting 37.9 percent from the field and 27.4 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.

* Atupem, who is averaging 1.9 steals over the past six games, leads the Mount with 28 steals this season. He is tied for 31st all-time in Mount history with 80 career thefts. Teammate Jean Cajou is 24th on the all-time list with 99 career steals.

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 10-5 this season when shooting 40 percent or better and 0-11 when shooting under 40 percent. In addition, the Mount is 10-5 when recording a higher field goal percentage than the opponent and 0-11 when the opposition shoots better.

The Mount and the Northeast Conference...The Mount is 192-198 all-time in NEC regular season games.

* The Mount is 116-79 at home and 76-119 on the road during the NEC regular season.

* Mount St. Mary's has posted a winning record in nine of the 21 seasons the team has been in the league.

* Since joining the league in 1989-90, the Mount has had 17 All-NEC selections, including six first-team honorees.

* The Mount won NEC Tournament titles in 1995, 1999 and 2008 and won the NEC regular season crown in 1995-96.

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 30-8 (.789 winning pct.) at home over the past two-plus 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 22-3 mark over its past 24 NEC regular season home games. Including the playoffs, the Mount has won 25 of its past 28 home games against NEC opponents on Jim Phelan Court.

* The Mount has recorded a winning record at home in each of the past five seasons and has been .500 or better at home in 18 of the 23 seasons since Knott Arena opened.

* All-time, the Mount has a 177-120 (.596) record at Knott Arena.

Cajou at the Line...Senior guard Jean is second all-time at the Mount in career free throw percentage.

* Cajou is shooting 82.1 percent (256-for-312) 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 25 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.

Norfleet Named NEC Co-Rookie of the Week...Freshman Julian Norfleet was named the Northeast Conference Co-Rookie of the Week on November 20.

* The freshman averaged 11.5 points per game in a win over Savannah State and a loss to Cincinnati.

* In a 69-59 loss at Cincinnati, Norfleet drilled a three-pointer with 59 seconds left to pull the Mount within 62-58. He finished the game with seven points, six rebounds and three assists.

* In the Mount's 68-62 overtime win over Savannah State, Norfleet's clutch shooting down the stretch helped the Mount rally from a seven-point deficit. Trailing 41-34 with eight minutes left, Norfleet hit a pair of three-pointers in a 12-0 run that helped the Mount regain the lead.

* After Savannah State rallied to send the game into overtime, Norfleet connected for a three-pointer 21 seconds into the extra session to give the Mountaineers the lead for good. He finished the game with a season-high 16 points, including a 5-for-10 mark from beyond the arc.

* Norfleet is the first Mountaineer to earn NEC Rookie of the Week honors since Shawn Atupem won the award on Feb. 18, 2008.

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).

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