Emmitsburg, Md. (January 26, 2017)--Mount St. Mary's topped Robert Morris, 48-47, in a defensive battle at Knott Arena on Thursday night to maintain first place in the Northeast Conference. Junior Robinson paced the Mountaineers with a game-high 18 points.
Mount St. Mary's (10-12, 8-1 NEC) recorded stops on 13 of their final 15 defensive possessions to earn the hard-fought victory.
Robert Morris (7-15, 3-6 NEC) opened the second half with a 15-0 run to take a 35-25 lead with 15:51 remaining in the game. Isaiah Still keyed the run with eight points, including a pair of three-pointers. It was his second three-pointer that capped the spurt to give the Colonials their biggest lead of the game.
The Mountaineers answered with a 9-0 run to get back into the game. Robinson was fouled on a three-point attempt, and he hit all three free throws to start the run. Robinson then scored in transition, and the Mount's Chris Wray got a steal and a dunk on the next possession to cut the deficit to 35-32 with 12:44 left. After a Robert Morris turnover, Robinson fed Wray for another dunk to cut the Robert Morris lead to one.
The Colonials stopped the run when Kavon Stewart banked home a three-point attempt, and Robert Morris extended the lead back to six, 44-38, on a Still free throw with 8:45 remaining in the game.
It was from that point that the Mount defense took over, getting 13 stops on the final 15 Robert Morris possessions the rest of the way. Elijah Long's three-pointer with 7:32 remaining made it a 44-41 game, and Miles Wilson and Long each added a pair of free throws to give the Mount a 45-44 advantage with just over four minutes left.
Long's traditional three-point play with 3:09 on the clock pushed the Mount lead to 48-44. Robert Morris cut the lead in half on a Billy Giles putback with 2:04 remaining. Robert Morris had a chance to tie the score when Still went to the free throw line with 42 seconds left, but he missed both attempts. RMU's Aaron Tate got the offensive rebound and was fouled, but he went 1-for-2 at the stripe to cut the Mount advantage to 48-47.
Robinson missed a jumper on the Mount's next possession, and Robert Morris called timeout with 5.5 seconds left with a chance to win the game. On the final possession, Stewart drove the middle, but threw the ball away, and the Mount was able to secure the win.
Robinson was the lone Mount player in double figures with 18 points. Wray chipped in eight points, four blocks and four steals while Long finished with nine points, five rebounds and four assists. Still led Robert Morris with 14 points while Stewart added 13 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Mount St. Mary's shot just 38.1 percent in the game and was outrebounded by a 49-to-22 margin. The Mount countered the rebound deficit by forcing Robert Morris into 25 turnovers.
The Mount returns to action on Saturday, January 28, with a 4:00 p.m. matchup against Sacred Heart at Knott Arena. Mount St. Mary's defeated the Pioneers, 86-75, on the road a week ago.