Emmitsburg, Md. (January 14, 2017) -- Five Mountaineers scored in double-figures as the Mount St. Mary's University men's basketball team topped Saint Francis U, 78-72, on Saturday at Knott Arena to improve to 5-1 in Northeast Conference play. The Mount rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit to post its third consecutive win.
Saint Francis U came out strong, scoring 13 consecutive points to take an early 21-to-9 advantage. Jamaal King keyed the early run, hitting three three-pointers and scoring 11 points in the first 6:30 of the game.
After the Mount cut the deficit to 26-20 on a Greg Alexander three-pointer, the Red Flash (6-11, 3-3 NEC) rattled off nine points in a row to take its biggest lead of the game, 35-20, with 4:25 remaining in the opening half.
Mount St. Mary's rallied, closing the first half on a 12-to-1 run to cut the deficit to 36-to-32 at the break. Chris Wray started the run with a tip-in, ahead of an Elijah Long fast-break lay-up. Wray added another basket, and Mawdo Sallah converted a traditional three-point play to cut the deficit to 35-to-29. After a Keith Braxton free throw, Alexander drilled a three-pointer to make it a four-point game at the break.
The Mountaineers shot just 35.3 percent from the field in the opening half and were outrebounded 24-to-19. The Red Flash shot 41.2 percent from the field, and hit five three-pointers in the opening 20 minutes.
The Red Flash extended their lead to 45-38 early in the second half, but the Mount answered with an 11-to-2 run to take the lead, 49-47, with 12:39 remaining. Junior Robinson started the run with a three-pointer, and after a Braxton jumper, Sallah and Alexander converted back-to-back baskets in the paint to tie the score at 47-47. Miles Wilson then scored in the paint to give the Mount its first lead, 49-47, since early in the first half.
The Red Flash answered with five consecutive points, but the Mount was able to use a 9-to-2 run to take a 58-54 advantage. Wilson started that streak with a traditional three-point play. After a pair of King free throws, Robinson tied the score on a jumper, and Sallah scored consecutive baskets to put the Mount ahead by four. King hit a three-pointer, but the Mount added an 8-0 run for a 66-57 lead.
A Wray basket with 4:09 left gave the Mount a 70-61 lead, but Saint Francis went on an 8-to-2 run to cut the Mount lead to 72-69 with 1:34 remaining. Braxton capped that run with a lay-up on the fast break. The Red Flash had a chance to cut into the deficit after getting a stop, but Josh Nebo's jumper was off the mark, and Elijah Long captured the rebound. Long was fouled, and he hit both free throws for a 74-69 lead with 22 seconds left. The Red Flash then turned the ball over, and Robinson hit a pair of free throws with 17 seconds on the clock for a seven-point lead. The Mount was able to hold on for the win.
The Mount shot 54.5 percent (18-of-33) in the second half to rally for the win. For the game, the Mount shot 44.8 percent and committed just eight turnovers. The Red Flash shot 41.4 percent in the contest, and held a 42-to-38 edge on the boards.
Long paced the Mount with 17 points and five assists while matching his career high in rebounds with eight. Alexander helped pace the Mount with 16 points as the junior knocked down four three-pointers to follow up his 19-point performance last time out. Sallah added a career-high 13 points to go along with eight rebounds, and Wilson (13 pts) and Wray (10) were the other two Mountaineers to reach double-digits.
Braxton led the Red Flash with 25 points, 12 rebounds and five assists while King finished with 23 points. Nebo grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.
The Mount is back in action on Thursday, January 19, with a 7:00 p.m. matchup at Sacred Heart.
Game Notes: The Mount is now 20-3 over the past 23 meetings with the Red Flash...The Mount has won 13 of the past 14 games in the series at Knott Arena...The Mount is in a three-way tie for first place with Fairleigh Dickinson and LIU Brooklyn...The Mount has wins over each of those teams.