EMMITSBURG LDB — EMMITSBURG -- If Mount St. Mary's didn't have bad luck, it wouldn't have any luck at all.
Consider that last week 7-foot Chris Cavanagh, who had been playing well, fractured his right hand while pounding a gym wall in frustration during a practice.
Last night, forward Bobby Hill was scheduled for his second start of the season, but was involved in an automobile accident on I-270 before the game and never got to Knott Arena. Reports are that he was not hurt seriously.
Then, Jeff Hall's 12-foot attempt to win the game went in and came out just before the buzzer, and St. Francis (N.Y.) handed the Mountaineers their fifth consecutive loss, 65-64, in a bruising Northeast Conference game.
The Mountaineers are now 0-4 in the NEC, their worst start in three seasons of affiliation.
A free throw by John Arnold with nine seconds remaining provided the clinching point for the Terriers, who captured their fourth straight victory and sixth in the last seven games.
Hall, charged with the foul against Arnold during a mid-court scramble, got an excellent shot to play hero, but it wasn't the Mounts' night.
Coach Jim Phelan's team hit 56.8 percent from the field, but committed 23 turnovers and received only one field goal from guard Phil Galvin, who had been averaging 12.7 points a game.
"[Anthony] Carr did a good job in his first start, blocking shots and going after the ball hard," said Phelan. "And [Michael] Watson played well again. But we have to get it from more than two places and we're not getting it from the main ones."
The Terriers were all over the Mounts' guards with in-your-face defense new head coach Ron Ganulin brought with him from Nevada-Las Vegas, where he was an assistant for four seasons.
Mount St. Mary's had trouble in-bounding the ball, and its backcourt was guilty of 13 giveaways.
"We play that way [on defense] all the time," said Ganulin. "I learned a lot at Vegas from Tark [coach Jerry Tarkanian]. It's so draining physically, but the length and intensity of practices pay off. Tark thought the best time to make a steal was on inbounds plays."
Phelan, short of resources and personnel, countered with a zone and St. Francis had trouble scoring as well until adjusting to free forward Ron Arnold along the baseline in the second half. Arnold had nine points in the final 11:23.
It was a game that resembled organized chaos with bodies flying, and open baskets coming infrequently.
But the outcome brought out the frustration in Phelan, 10 victories short of 700 in his storied career.
"Missed foul shots, turnovers, we're kind of snake-bit," he said. "We played hard and did a good job, but nothing seems to want to go right here. We're just not getting it done."
The Mounties have not won since they upset Georgia State in their holiday tournament Dec. 28, and last night was the first defeat when they outshot their opponents.
ST. FRANCIS (7-5) -- R. Arnold 9-15 2-4 20, West 0-1 0-0 0, James 3-4 4-4 10, J. Arnold 3-6 1-2 9, Hatcher 3-7 0-0 7, Ortiz 4-10 0-0 9, Myers 4-11 1-1 10, Smith 0-3 0-0 0, Jones 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 26-59 8-11 65.
MOUNT ST. MARY'S (3-11) -- Stull 2-3 3-4 7, Hall 3-6 2-2 8, Carr 5-6 1-4 11, Booth 7-12 3-5 18, Galvin 1-7 0-0 3, Watson 4-5 2-2 11, John 1-3 0-1 2, Nanni 2- 2 0-0 4. Totals: 25-44 11-18 64.
Halftime--Mount St. Mary's, 28-27. 3-point goals--SF 5-12 (J. Arnold 2-4, Ortiz 1-1,Hatcher 1-2, Myers 1-5). MSM 3-10 (Watson 1-1, Booth 1-2, Galvin 1-4, John 0 -1). Rebounds--SF 30 (James 8). MSM 28 (Carr 9). Assists--SF 19 (J. Arnold 7) MSM 18 (Stull 6, Galvin 6). Total fouls--SF 19, MSM 13. Fouled out--Myers. A--1,213.