Brooklyn, N.Y. (December 29, 2016)—Chris Wray scored at the buzzer to lead Mount St. Mary's past LIU Brooklyn, 67-65, on Thursday afternoon at the Steinberg Wellness Center. Receiving the inbounds pass with 4.2 seconds remaining, Wray dribbled the length of the court and hit a driving lay-up at the buzzer to lift the Mount to the win in its Northeast Conference opener.
Mount St. Mary's (3-11, 1-0 NEC) rallied from an 11-point second half deficit to defeat LIU Brooklyn in the NEC opener for the second consecutive season.
The Mount saw the Blackbirds (7-7, 0-1 NEC) rally from a four-point deficit in the final minute to tie the score, 65-65, on a Nura Zanna putback with 4.2 seconds on the clock to set up Wray's fantastic finish.
It is the second time this season that Wray has provided late-game heroics. He converted a game-winning drive and dunk with 1.3 seconds in the Mount's 78-76 win at George Mason earlier this season.
LIU scored the first basket of the second half to take a 32-21 lead, matching its biggest lead of the game. The Mount's Elijah Long quickly got his team back into the game by burying back-to-back three-point field goals. After a Zanna basket, freshman Miles Wilson connected on a three-pointer to make it 34-30. Long's third three-pointer in the first five minutes of the second half cut the deficit to 36-33, and back-to-back buckets from Mawdo Sallah and Wilson evened the score at 37-37.
With the score tied, 42-42, the Blackbirds scored six consecutive points to a 48-42 advantage, and LIU held a 52-48 lead after a Jerome Frink bucket with 7:21 remaining. The Mount evened the score at 54-54 when Wray converted a traditional three-point play with 5:59 on the clock.
After Zanna hit a pair of free throws, Junior Robinson scored five consecutive points to give the Mount a 59-56 advantage. Robinson hit a three-pointer from the top of the key and then converted a nice drive to the basket. Zanna hit 3-of-4 free throws over the next minute to tie the game at 59-59 with 3:06 left.
Sallah broke the tie with a bucket in the lane, and Robinson then converted a pair of free throws after coming up with a steal on the defensive end to put the Mount ahead, 63-59. Frink scored with just over a minute left for LIU, but Robinson again hit a pair of line to put the Mountaineers on top, 65-61, with 53 seconds on the clock.
LIU's Raiquan Clark quickly countered with a bucket, and the Blackbirds forced a turnover on the next possession to get the ball back with 17 seconds left. Zanna was able to tie the score when he grabbed an offensive rebound and scored in the paint with 4.2 seconds left.
Long led the Mount with 21 points and five rebounds, hitting all four of his three-point attempts while also going 7-for-7 at the foul line. Robinson added 13 points and three assists while Sallah chipped in 11 points and six boards in the win. Wray and Wilson added seven points each in the game.
Zanna led the Blackbirds with 21 points and 17 rebounds with Frink (14 points) and Iverson Fleming (12 points) also reaching double figures.
Mount St. Mary's shot 43.8 percent (21-of-48) in the game, including 8-of-19 (.421) from three-point range. The Mount held LIU to 41.0 percent in the game, including 11-of-32 in the second half. The Blackbirds held a 42-to-27 edge on the boards.
Mount St. Mary's took the early lead, scoring the first five points of the game on a Sallah lay-up and a Long three-pointer. After the Blackbirds evened the score at 7-7, Greg Alexander drained a three-pointer to put the Mount back in front. LIU's Frink cut the gap to 10-9, but a Ryan Gomes dunk put the Mountaineers ahead 12-9.
The Blackbirds then rattled off a 7-0 run to take a 16-12 advantage. Raul Frias hit a jumper and a three-pointer while a Fleming lay-up capped the run.
A Long steal and easy lay-up cut the Mount's deficit to 18-16, but LIU used a 12-to-3 run to take its biggest lead of the first half, 30-19, with 37 seconds left in the half. Robinson found Sallah open in the lane on a pick-and-roll to make it 30-21 at the half.
Mount St. Mary's was 8-for-20 (.400) from the field in the first half, but committed 10 turnovers. LIU Brooklyn shot 48.3 percent (14-of-29) in the opening half while holding a 20-10 edge on the boards.
The Mount returns to action on Saturday, December 31, when Wagner visits Knott Arena for a 2:00 p.m. matchup.
Game Notes: This is the second consecutive season the Mount has defeated LIU Brooklyn in the NEC opener…The Mount has won five of the past six games in the series with LIU…Long is now shooting 48.7 percent (19-of-39) from three-point range this year.