Emmitsburg, Md. (February 4, 2017)--Mount St. Mary's was edged by Central Connecticut, 54-52, on Saturday afternoon before a near-sellout crowd at Knott Arena. The Mount saw the Blue Devils rally from a 15-point second-half deficit to earn the win and snap the Mount's eight-game win streak.
The Mount (12-13, 10-2 NEC) opened the second half with a 12-0 run to build a 43-28 lead with 14:24 remaining. Junior Robinson started the streak with a three-pointer from the left corner. An Elijah Long lay-up and a pair of Miles Wilson free throws gave the Mount a double-digit advantage. Wilson then scored in the paint, and he capped the run with a three-pointer to give the Mount a 15-point advantage.
Central Connecticut (5-18, 3-9 NEC) slowly chipped away at the Mount lead, using a 9-0 run over the next four and a half minutes to cut the deficit to 43-37. The Mount's Mawdo Sallah stopped the run, but Central Connecticut's Tyson Batiste hit a three-pointer to make it 45-40 with 8:23 on the clock.
A Khalen Cumberlander free throw with 5:25 left cut the Mount lead to 47-43, but the Mount answered when Wilson slammed home a pass from Long to make it 49-43 with 4:33 left.
The Blue Devils then went on an 11-0 run to take a 54-49 lead with 23 seconds remaining. Kevin Seymour scored on a drive to the basket, and Austin Nehls then hit a pair of free throws to make it a two-point game. After a Mount missed three-pointer with 1:34 left, Nehls drained a three-pointer from the top of the key to give CCSU its first lead of the game, 50-49, with 1:17 left.
The Mount missed on a three-pointer on its next possession, and Seymour converted a pair of free throws for a three-point lead. After another Mount missed three, Nehls went 2-for-2 at the line to make it 54-49 with 23 seconds remaining.
The Mount's Greg Alexander then nailed a three-pointer from the left corner to cut the deficit to two with 14 seconds left. The Mount then forced a turnover, and had a chance to take the lead or tie. After a timeout, Long was off the mark on a three-point attempt with eight seconds left. The Mount's Chris Wray grabbed the rebound, but his putback rattled out. Wray again grabbed the board, and his next lay-up attempt also rattled off the iron, and the Mountaineers fouled Khalen Cumberland with 2.3 seconds on the clock. Cumberlander missed both attempts, but Wray's desperation three-point attempt from past halfcourt hit the back of the rim, and the Blue Devils were able to secure the win.
Long finished with 10 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals in the loss. Sallah had a solid game in the post with eight points and eight rebounds while matching a career-high with six blocks. Wilson chipped in nine points and a career-best seven rebound with Robinson adding eight points for the Mount.
Cumberlander led CCSU with 14 points and eight rebounds while Tafari Whittingham chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Nehls finished the contest with 12 points and five boards.
The Mount started strong, scoring the first nine points of the game, with Robinson scoring the final five of the run. A Wray bucket had the Mount leading 19-11 eight minutes into the game, but the Blue Devils scored the next six points to make it a two-point game. The game remained tight the rest of the half, with the Mount leading 31-28 at the break.
Mount St. Mary's shot just 35.1 percent from the floor in the game, including 6-of-27 (.222) from three-point range. Central Connecticut shot 34.6 percent, but was 6-of-15 (.400) from beyond the arc while holding a 43-to-35 edge on the boards.
The Mount still holds a two-game lead over Fairleigh Dickinson and Saint Francis U in the Northeast Conference standings.
Mount St. Mary's embarks on a four-game road swing on Thursday, February 9, with a 7:00 p.m. game at Robert Morris.
Game Notes: The Mount retired the number (#50) of former great Chris McGuthrie at halftime of the game...McGuthrie joins Jack Sullivan, Fred Carter and John O'Reilly as the only players to have their number retired at the Mount...Legendary Mount St. Mary's men's basketball coach Jim Phelan has the number 830, his career win total, retired in his name as well.