Dayton, Ohio (March 14, 2017) – Junior Robinson and Miles Wilson combined for 40 points to power Mount St. Mary's University past New Orleans, 67-66, in the NCAA First Four round on Tuesday night at the University of Dayton Arena. With the victory, the Mount advances to the round of 64 and will face the tournament's overall No. 1 seed and defending champion Villanova on Thursday in Buffalo.
The win over New Orleans was the Mount's second NCAA Tournament victory in its Division I era, joining a 69-60 win over Coppin State in the opening round back in 2008.
Robinson scored a game-high 23 points, including 15 in the second half, to collect the 12th 20-plus point output of his career. Robinson went 9-of-14 from the field, tying his career-high for most field goals made, to go along with a 3-for-6 mark from long range.
Wilson scored 12 of his 17 points in the first half of play, and also added 11 rebounds in the contest to record his second straight double-double. The rookie went 5-of-12 in the tilt and 3-for-4 from downtown as he and Robinson combined for six of the team's 10 three-pointers.
Greg Alexander chipped in with nine points off the bench, knocking down all three of his three-pointers in the second half.
After missing their first three shots to open the contest, the Mountaineers knocked down each of their next four, including three-pointers from Wilson and Robinson, to tie things up at 10-10 heading into the first media timeout.
Wilson's second three-pointer of the game minutes later capped off a 13-1 Mountaineer run as they extended their advantage to 18-11 midway through the half.
Buckets from Christavious Gill and Erik Thomas brought New Orleans back within three, but the Mount answered with a 12-4 rally over a five-minute stretch to grab its largest lead of the half, 30-19, with 4:20 showing on the clock.
New Orleans registered 10 of the final 12 points of the period to pull within three, 32-29, heading into the halftime break.
Wilson and Robinson both knocked down three-pointers in the early stages of the second half to stretch the Mount lead to 40-31. The Privateers responded with the next eight points, including a pair of buckets from Travis Thibodeaux, to pull within one, 40-39.
A traditional three-point play from Robinson two minutes later pushed the Mountaineer lead to 49-43, but back-to-back jumpers on the other end from Nate Frye, followed by a bucket from Thibodeaux tied things up at 49-49 at the 11:00 mark.
With the Mount holding a slim lead with under seven minutes to play, Alexander knocked down his third three-pointer of the half to push the Mount's lead to 61-55.
The Privateers scored seven of the next nine points, including a three-point play from Frye to cap off the stretch, as they pulled within just one, 63-62, at the 4:00 mark.
Both teams were held off the board in the ensuing two-plus minutes until a pair of free throws from Christavious Gill with 1:48 remaining gave New Orleans its first lead since the 15:31 mark of the first half.
Robinson answered on the next possession with a mid-range jumper to put the Mountaineers back ahead, 65-64, with 1:28 showing on the clock.
Tevin Broyles missed a jumper on the other end for New Orleans and Wilson was fouled after ripping down the rebound. The rookie converted both from the line to extend the Mount advantage to 67-64 with just over a minute left in the contest.
The Mount forced a turnover on the next Privateer possession, but Frye stole the ball from Wilson on the other end and was fouled by Charles Glover before getting out in transition. Frye made both of his free throws to make it just a one-point Mount lead with 38 seconds left.
The Privateers chose not to foul on the ensuing Mount St. Mary's possession, but Robinson's jumper failed to fall with just a few ticks left, and Thomas pulled down the rebound and called timeout, giving New Orleans one last shot to win it with 2.9 seconds left.
The ensuing New Orleans in-bounds pass to half court was intercepted by Chris Wray, sealing the Mount's 67-66 victory.
The Mount went 25-for-47 (53.2 percent) from the field as a team and 10-for-19 (52.6 percent) from three-point land.
New Orleans shot 29-of-54 (53.7 percent) from the floor and just 1-of-9 (11.1 percent) from three-point land. Frye led the squad with 19 points, while Thomas added 12 points and eight rebounds.
With the win, the Mount improved to 20-15 overall on the season, while New Orleans fell to 20-12.
The Mount and top-seeded Villanova square off on Thursday (March 16) in Buffalo on CBS. Opening tip is set for 7:10 p.m.