Fairfield, Conn. (January 19, 2017) – The Mount St. Mary's University men's basketball team held off a second-half surge by Sacred Heart on Thursday night for an 86-75 victory as the Mountaineers moved to 6-1 in conference action, which marks their best start in NEC league play in program history. Elijah Long tallied a team-high 19 points to pace the Mount, while Junior Robinson and Miles Wilson added 17 apiece.
The Mount had previously opened with a 5-1 record in NEC action three different times, including last season, but had yet to reach the 6-1 mark until this point.
Long went 5-of-7 from the field and 3-of-4 from long range for his 17 points, while also registering seven assists, five rebounds and three steals. Junior Robinson and Wilson hit three three-pointers apiece for 17 points each, and Greg Alexander knocked down four from downtown for 12 points. Mawdo Sallah was the other Mountaineer to reach double-figures, finishing with 10 points and six rebounds.
Quincy McKnight of Sacred Heart led all scorers with 26 points on 12-of-19 shooting, and Chris Robinson helped pace the Pioneers with 14 points.
The Mount came out firing on all cylinders, scoring 13 of the game's opening 15 points. Junior Robinson and Long registered five points apiece during the stretch before Miles Wilson knocked down a three from the wing to push the Mount's lead to 13-2, forcing an early Sacred Heart timeout.
Later in the period, Alexander and Wilson knocked down back-to-back threes at the midway mark to cap off a 10-2 Mountaineer run as they extended the lead to 31-9.
The Mount led by 20 or more through the remainder of the half, and Alexander closed out the period with his fourth three-pointer of the contest as the Mountaineers headed into the locker room with a 51-27 advantage. The 51 points in the half were the most in a period this season for the Mount, beating out a previous high of 48 in the first frame vs. Coppin State back in late December.
Mount St. Mary's connected on its first six three-pointers of the contest and shot 66.7-percent (8-12) from long range in the opening half. Alexander and Wilson both reached double-figures before the break, combining for 22 points in the period.
Trailing by 24 at the opening of the second half, Sacred Heart went on a 26-5 run, which included 16 straight points, to cut the Mount's lead to 56-53 at the 12:05 mark. McKnight and Chris Robinson led the Pioneer surge with a combined 18 points during the rally.
A layup from Sallah off a nice feed from Junior Robinson broke up a stretch of 16 straight Pioneer points, and the Mount followed with seven of the game's next nine points, including five from Wilson, to pad its lead back to 65-55.
The Pioneers chipped away to pull back within four, 69-65, at the 4:45 mark, but Long drew a charge on the ensuing possession prior to a big three-pointer on the other end from Junior Robinson as the Mount pushed its lead back to seven, 72-65.
A Chris Wray dunk on a fast-break with 1:45 showing on the clock extended the Mount's lead to double-digits, 79-69, and the Mount held the Pioneers at distance in the final minutes while converting seven of eight from the line to close out the 86-75 victory.
Mount St. Mary's finished the game 29-for-49 (.592) from the field and 13-for-21 (.619) from long range, its second-best three-point percentage in a game this season. The Mountaineers also held a slight rebounding edge over the Pioneers, 32-27.
The Mount continues its road swing with a matchup at St. Francis Brooklyn this Saturday (Jan. 21) at 4 p.m.