EMMITSBURG -- The official play-by-play account shows that Mount St. Mary's senior Jeff Hall made a three-pointer from the corner with two seconds left to win the game.
But, lest there be a misunderstanding about who deserved the )) hero's mantle, this upset victory belonged to Chad Stull of Frederick.
The Mountaineers could thank the sophomore with the Marine-style crew cut for being in contention at all after they ended a four-game losing streak yesterday at Knott Arena by edging Northeast Conference rival Monmouth, 58-57.
"The key to the whole thing was the way Stull played [Alex] Blackwell," said Mountaineers coach Jim Phelan. "When we switched to him he played him hard and strong, did a great job.
Then, at the end he saved us again when he kept the ball for us."
The only time Mount St. Mary's had beaten Monmouth in their previous five meetings, Blackwell had been held to 12 points and eight rebounds.
This time, the Hawks' burly senior forward had amassed 22 points and 10 rebounds with the game only three minutes into the second half. Something had to be done because the Mountaineers, trailing by 45-36, were in danger of getting blown out.
Enter Stull, a persistent player who maximizes his talent with sheer hustle. Blackwell never scored again.
"I just tried to play him as hard as I could," he said. "Defense isn't necessarily a skill as much as it is hard work. He is the type of player who can bury you if he gets in a groove. You could see that in the first part of the game.
"You just tell yourself you have to stop him and hope everybody else can help you like they did for me. Besides, I like in-your-face defense."
With the Hawks' offense sputtering, Mount St. Mary's rallied and took the lead, 52-50, on a layup by 7-footer Chris Cavanagh, giving him six of the points in a 16-5 run.
From there, it was anybody's game, and for the final nine minutes, the two teams produced just two field goals apiece as Monmouth played the clock and the Mount couldn't get the key basket to drop.
But with Monmouth holding a 57-55 lead with 40 seconds left, Stull made a steal as he was overplaying Blackwell to give Mount St. Mary's the chance to win.
They almost surrendered their chance, but Stull again regained the ball after Phil Galvin's pass was picked off by Monmouth guard Steve Ziemian.
Kevin Booth tried to drive for the winning basket, but was blocked and his attempt went out of bounds off the Hawks. With seven seconds left, Phelan called timeout and set up what he wanted.
Everyone in the arena, especially Monmouth, figured Booth for an encore. No one noticed Hall, who was in-bounding the ball. Booth received it and was surrounded. Time for the option play.
"Three people converged on Kevin, so I just stepped back in bounds. Luckily, I hit the shot," said Hall, who missed a similar attempt against St. Francis (N.Y.) in a 65-64 loss here Jan. 14.
"That one really had me down for a little while. This one brought me back to the right level. I think Monmouth was looking for Kevin to take the shot no matter what."
TC Phelan started his second unit, playing them about half of the first half, after they beat the normal starting five in Friday's practice.
"I was mad at the other guys," he said. "Kevin wasn't playing, but they got beat 28-10."
"I think that had some relevance when we did get in there," said Stull, who has played extremely well lately after being replaced in the starting five a week earlier.