EMMITSBURG -- After going 0-for-the-season at home before last night's game at Knott Arena, Mount St. Mary's got its Christmas gift a few days late when it found a team it could beat.
The victim was the Colgate Red Raiders, who played thMountaineers tough for a half before losing, 92-80, in front of 1,928. The Mount's (2-8) win ended a five-game losing streak.
Colgate, coming off last Saturday's win over Harvard, fell to 1-5.
Mount forward John Miller led all scorers with 22 points as fouMountaineers reached double figures and guard Alex Watson tied a school record with 14 assists.
But the biggest surprise was third-team sophomore center Dave Nanni, who had career highs in points (15) and rebounds (seven) in 17 productive minutes. Nanni, 6 feet 8, had scored four points and grabbed two rebounds in 20 minutes going into last night's game.
"We weren't surprised with his performance because he's pretty good inside scorer," Mount coach Jim Phelan said. "He's playing because the other two centers in front of him aren't playing well right now."
The Mountaineers, who had lost four straight home games othe way to their worst start in three-plus years of Division I play, led by as many as 16 points in the second half. The team shot 49.2 percent from the field -- the best shooting game at home this season for the Mount, which had combined to shoot 39 percent in four previous home contests.
Leading 40-35 at the half, Mount St. Mary's moved to 56-49 after a jumper by senior guard Steve Kinney, who scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half. But back-to-back layups by Devin Hughes and Jack Ehretsman moved Colgate to 56-53.
The Mount began to pull away when Nanni checked into thgame in the second half. He scored eight points during a 20-6 run that helped Mount St. Mary's to a 76-59 lead with 5 minutes, 26 seconds left and Colgate never threatened after that.
"I was able to give some of the other guys some time becausColgate didn't shoot very well," Phelan said of the Red Raiders, who shot 41.9 percent. "The guys off the bench played well."
The Mount appeared to end the game early in getting off to 13-0 lead, but the Red Raiders, who missed their first six shots and went nearly five minutes without scoring, responded with three transition layups during a 9-0 run that pulled them within 13-9.
Colgate tied the game when guard Brennan Lothery scored hionly points of the half, on a layup with 11:21 left, then took a four-point lead when senior Dave Goodwin hit a jumper minutes later.
It was after Phelan benched his five starters toward the end othe half that his team began to take control. With Nanni leading the way, the Mount outscored Colgate, 9-5, in the final minutes of the half to take its 40-35 halftime lead.
Ten Mount players scored in the first half, led by Miller, Jeff Haland Scott Murphy, each with six. The Mountaineers shot 45.7 percent from the field in the half, but just 45.5 percent from the free-throw line (five of 11).
Goodwin, a quarterback on Colgate's football team, led the ReRaiders with 12 first half points. Colgate shot 38.7 percent from the field and 58.8 from the line.
Devin Hughes and Jonathan Stone each scored 15 points to lead Colgate.
This was the Mountaineers' final tuneup before the start oNortheast Conference play, which begins Jan. 8 against Monmouth.