Wagner shuts off outside, powers by Mount, 84-73

February 07, 1992|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Correspondent

EMMITSBURG R — EMMITSBURG -- Wagner slowed the opposing guards and kept its surprising performance going forward in the Northeast Conference last night.

With barely a ripple of protest from Mount St. Mary's, the Seahawks rolled to an 84-73 victory at Knott Arena that showed they will have to be reckoned with in the conference tournament.

Yugoslavs Milan Rikic (career-high 23 points, eight rebounds) and Miladin Mutavdzic (12 points, nine rebounds) took care of the inside duty, and a rotating backcourt cast took away what the Mountaineers like to do best -- bomb away from three-point range.

The result was a game that wasn't a contest after Wagner outscored Mount St. Mary's, 19-9, at the start of the second half. That gave the Seahawks a 57-40 bulge that was never trimmed to fewer than 11.

"That team did exactly what you have to do to beat us," said Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan, whose team suffered its fourth straight loss. "Play the guards hard and take your chances inside. They did what they wanted to do."

Wagner was picked to finish last in the league by the coaches after a 4-26 record last season, but the addition of junior-college transfer Quincy Lewis at point guard and the two big men from Yugoslavia -- Mutavdzic is 6 feet 10 and Rikic 6-7 -- have put the team into the title picture.

"Right now, I think we're right in the middle of the pack," said Seahawks coach Tim Capstraw. "I still like Monmouth, but if we play well and other teams average, we can win."

Guard Bobby Hopson, Wagner's top returnee, was injured in a collision under the basket in the second half. He reinjured his left knee after scoring 17, but initial indications were that it was not a serious injury.

Meanwhile, the Mountaineers couldn't get their backcourt unwound, although the NEC's top scorer, Kevin Booth, wound up with 17 hard-earned points.

"We wanted to make sure we didn't let them get the open three-pointers," said Capstraw. "That was the critical part of the strategy for us. We rotated a few extra guards in there, and I think we did that."

WAGNER (11-9, 6-5) -- Street 2-6 2-2 7, M. Rikic 9-14 5-6 23, Mutavdzic 6-15 0-0 12, Lewis 5-8 6-10 17, Hopson 5-9 3-4 17, T. Rikic 0-0 0-2 0, Roberts 1-2 5-6 7, Rholin 0-1 0-0 0, Wyatt 0-1 0-0 0, Kelley 0-0 0-0 0, Srdanovich 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 28-56 22-32 84.

MOUNT ST. MARY'S (5-17, 2-9) -- Stull 6-16 1-2 14, Watson 3-10 0-0 6, Carr 1-4 0 -0 2, Booth 6-17 2-2 17, Galvin 1-9 0-0 2, John 4-5 0-0 10, Cavanagh 3-6 0-0 6, Hall 3-6 2-2 9, Meakin 1-1 0-0 2, Kalinowski 1-1 0-0 3, Hill 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 30-76 5-6 73.

Halftime--Wagner 38-31. 3-point goals--W 6-12 (Hopson 4-5, Lewis 1-2, Street 1- 4, Wyatt 0-1); MSM 8-22 (Booth 3-7, John 2-3, Kalinowski 1-1, Hall 1-2, Stull 1- 3, Galvin 0-6). Rebounds--W 35 (Mutavdzic 9); MSM 47 (Watson 13). Assists--W 15 ( Lewis 6); MSM 10 (Booth 3, Stull 3). Total fouls--W 10; MSM 21. Fouled out--Galvin. A--1,860.

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