Emmitsburg, Md. (November 26, 2019)--Mount St. Mary's rallied from a seven-point deficit with just under seven minutes remaining to top Utah Valley, 64-61, at Knott Arena on Tuesday night. Damian Chong Qui scored a career-best 18 points to lead the Mount while Jalen Gibbs chipped in 15 in the victory. Omar Habwe also made several key plays down the stretch to help the Mount move to 2-0 at home this season.
Utah Valley's Jamison Overton hit a three-pointer with 6:44 remaining to give the Wolverines a 54-47 advantage before the Mount rallied. Chong Qui started the rally with a nice finish on a drive, and Habwe nailed a three-pointer to make it 54-52. After a couple of defensive stops, Chong Qui drained a pull-up jumper to knot the score at 54-54 with 4:29 on the clock. After a TJ Washington basket put Utah Valley back ahead, Chong Qui again knotted the score at 56-56 with a pair of free throws with 3:37 remaining.
Utah Valley's Cavit Ege Havas then connected on back-to-back buckets to put the Wolverines ahead by four with just under three minutes left in the game. Chong Qui added two more free throws, and then grabbed the rebound off a Washington missed three-pointer to get the Mount the ball back. Gibbs was then fouled, and he calmly sank both free throws to tie the game at 60-60 with 1:56 left. Washington then missed on a drive to the basket, and Habwe snared the defensive board and was fouled on the play. He hit one-of-two at the line to give the Mount the lead for good, 61-60. Habwe then stepped up on the defensive end, blocking an Overton turn-around jumper at the foul line with 1:14 on the clock. Chong Qui grabbed the rebound, but after a timeout, the Mount turned the ball over on the next possession. Overton came up with the steal, but he saw his potential go-ahead lay-up miss. Utah Valley got the offensive rebound, but Washington turned the ball over with 39 seconds left.
Chong Qui then stretched the Mount lead to 63-60 with a tough drive to the basket with 12 seconds remaining. Utah Valley's Washington was fouled and he hit 1-of-2 at the line to make it a two-point game. Gibbs came down with the rebound on Washington's miss on the second free throw, and he was fouled immediately with eight seconds left. Gibbs hit 1-of-2 at the line, but Utah Valley's Washington was off the mark on a long three-pointer and the Mount was able to secure the win.
Chong Qui finished 7-of-11 from the field while hitting all four of his free throw attempts for his career high 18 points while Gibbs added 15 points in the win. Malik Jefferson contributed eight points and 10 rebounds while Habwe added nine points and nine rebounds for the Mountaineers. Opoku and Chidozie Collin Nnamene added six points each for the Mount (2-5). Casdon Jardine led Utah Valley (4-4) with a game-high 25 points while adding 11 rebounds for a double-double with Washington finishing with 18 points.
The Mount shot 35.9 percent (23-of-64) from the field in the game while hitting 3-of-17 (.176) from beyond the three-point arc. The Mount defense held strong, though, holding Utah Valley to 34.9 percent from the field (22-of-63) and 8-of-28 (.286) from three-point range. The Mount held a 46-to-39 edge on the boards.
Jardine almost single-handedly put Utah Valley ahead in the first half, scoring 14 of his team's 29 points as the Wolverines held a 29-to-24 lead at the break. Jardine hit a pair of three-pointers to give Utah Valley a 6-0 early advantage. The Mount fought back, taking the lead, 11-9, on a Habwe three-pointer. A highlight-reel dunk from Opoku stretched the Mount's lead to 15-12, but Utah Valley responded with a 9-0 run late in the half to take a 29-22 lead. A Gibbs basket closed the scoring in the half to make it 29-24.
Mount St. Mary's is back on the road on Saturday, November 30, with a 4:00 p.m. game at Howard.