Emmitsburg, Md. (January 11, 2018)--Junior Robinson scored a game-high 23 points as Mount St. Mary's held off Sacred Heart, 81-75, in Northeast Conference action on Thursday night. The Mount saw a 20-point first half lead cut to four with just under five minutes remaining, but went 15-of-18 at the foul line the rest of the way to secure the win. Donald Carey added 14 points, Jonah Antonio 13 and Greg Alexander 12 in the victory.
Sacred Heart (6-12, 1-4 NEC) held an early 6-5 lead before the Mount rattled off a 13-0 run to take control of the game. The run started with a pair of Robinson free throws after an intentional foul. On the ensuing possession, Alexander nailed a three-pointer to put the Mount ahead, 8-6. Bobby Planutis and Antonio added three-pointers of their own before an Omar Habwe dunk capped the spurt to put the Mount on top, 16-6. The Mountaineers (9-9, 3-2 NEC) continued to surge from beyond the three-point arc, making three more triples (by Antonio, Habwe and Robinson) over the next minute and a half to stretch the advantage to 25-11. Mount St. Mary's was able to extend the lead to 39-19 with 5:44 left in the half after a Robinson drive to the basket. The Pioneers responded, scoring the next 11 points to cut the deficit to 39-30 late in the half. Antonio ended the Mount's four-minute scoring drought with a three-pointer to give the Mountaineers a 42-30 lead at the half.
The Mount, which made a season-high 16 three-pointers in a 78-51 win over Central Connecticut on Saturday, went 9-of-18 (.500) from three-point range in the opening half. That included making seven three-pointers in the first eight minutes of the half.
Alexander got the Mount offense going in the second half, scoring nine points over the first four minutes, to put the Mount ahead, 55-41, with 16:06 left. Included among his nine points was a four-point play that gave the Mount the 14-point lead. The Mountaineers continued to maintain the lead, taking a 62-45 advantage on a Habwe free throw with 12:25 left in the game.
The Mount offense went cold at that point, as Sacred Heart scored the next 13 points to cut the deficit to 62-58 on a De'von Barnett lay-up. The Mountaineers went scoreless for nearly eight minutes before Planutis hit a pair of free throws with 4:29 on the clock for a 64-58 lead. After a stop, Antonio scored on a cut to the basket on a feed from Chris Wray to put the Mount ahead, 66-58, with 3:37 remaining. Sacred Heart would get no closer than five points the rest of the way as the Mount hit 13-of-16 over the final 2:37 of the game.
Robinson finished the game with 23 points, four rebounds and four assists while going 14-of-17 at the foul line. Carey added 14 points, three assists and three steals with Antonio adding 13 points. Alexander finished the night with 12 points while Habwe chipped in eight points in nine minutes of action. Chris Wray also impacted the game, finishing with seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.
Barnett led Sacred Heart with 19 points while Sean Hoehn added 17 points, seven assists and four rebounds. Mario Matasovic finished with a double-double of 12 points and 14 boards while Zach Radz added 13 points and five rebounds off the bench as well.
The Mount shot 46.0 percent overall and was 11-of-24 (.458) from three-point range in the win. The Mount also went 24-of-35 (.686) at the foul line and committed just eight turnovers in the contest. Sacred Heart shot 48.4 percent in the game and held a 40-to-27 on the boards, but made just 5-of-21 (.238) from beyond the arc.
Mount St. Mary's is back in action on Saturday, January 13, with a 2:00 p.m. matchup at Saint Francis U in a rematch of last year's NEC Championship game won by the Mount, 71-61.