Emmitsburg, Md. (January 28, 2017)--Mount St. Mary's used a strong second half to stretch its win streak to seven games with a 67-53 victory over Sacred Heart on Saturday afternoon before a near-capacity crowd at Knott Arena. Elijah Long led the way with 15 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Mountaineers.
Trailing 36-33 at the half, the Mount (11-12, 9-1 NEC) outscored Sacred Heart, 34-17, in the second half to earn the win. The Mount is alone in first place in the Northeast Conference with a 9-1 league mark, one game ahead of Fairleigh Dickinson, who lost at Bryant earlier in the day.
Sacred Heart held a 38-35 lead early in the second half on a De'von Barnett bucket, but the Mount countered with a 19-to-6 run over the next 10 minutes to take a 54-44 lead with 8:48 remaining in the game.
After a pair of Mawdo Sallah free throws, the Mount's Junior Robinson scored in transition on a feed from Long to give the Mount the lead for good, 39-38, with 16:37 left in the game. Miles Wilson pushed the lead to five when he hammered home a dunk on a drive to the basket. Sacred Heart's Sean Hoehn hit a three-pointer to cut the Mount advantage to 43-41, but Wilson added another dunk, this time in transition, and Long added two free throws for a six-point lead.
Hoehn hit another three-pointer to halt the Mount's momentum, but the Mount answered with the next seven points to push the advantage to 10. Chris Wray scored in the paint, Robinson hit three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt, and Wray chipped in another lay-up to make it 54-44 with 8:48 left in the game.
The Mount defense then took over down the stretch, holding Sacred Heart (8-15, 3-7 NEC) off the scoreboard the final 5:24 of the game.
Long was one of four Mountaineers in double figures with his team-high 15 points. Robinson and Wilson added 11 points each while Sallah finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Wray and Greg Alexander added eight points each in the balanced attack.
Hoehn went 5-for-6 from three-point range en route to a game-high 17 points for the Pioneers. Joseph Lopez added 10 points and six rebounds in the loss. The Mount held Sacred Heart's Quincy McKnight, who entered the game second in the NEC in scoring at 19.5 points per game, to seven points on 2-of-9 shooting.
Mount St. Mary's opened the game strong, taking a 15-to-6 lead just 4:22 into the game with Robinson scoring six points during the run. Sacred Heart responded with a 19-to-4 run that was capped by 14 unanswered points to take a 25-18 lead with 11:21 left in the opening half. A Hoehn three-pointer with 8:09 on the clock gave Sacred Heart its biggest lead of the game, 28-20.
Mount St. Mary's chipped away at the deficit, eventually tying the score at 31-31 on a Long three-point basket. Sacred Heart was able to counter, and a pair of McKnight free throws with 1.8 seconds left in the half gave Sacred Heart a 36-33 lead.
The Mount shot 46.0 percent in the game and was 17-for-21 (.810) at the foul line. The Mountaineers also held Sacred Heart to 38.5 percent from the floor while scoring 22 points off 17 Pioneer turnovers.
Defense has been the key to the Mount's past three wins. The Mountaineers have held the opposition to 49.0 points per game and 33.5 percent shooting over that span.
The Mountaineers return to action on Thursday, February 2, when Bryant visits Knott Arena for a 7:00 p.m. matchup. That game will air live on ESPNU.