Fairleigh Dickinson tops Mount in OT Late cold spell loses lead and game, 81-76

February 16, 1992|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

EMMITSBURG -- On the night the lights went out in Knott Arena, Mount St. Mary's couldn't win for losing.

The Mountaineers went eight minutes without a field goal and lost their final home game, 81-76, in overtime to a Fairleigh Dickinson team that has made a habit of playing nail-biters.

"We continue to do exactly what we have to do to lose," said Mount coach Jim Phelan. "We had a 65-60 lead with the ball and didn't score the rest of the game [from the field]. Whatever we need to lose, we manage to find it."

It was the ninth time this season that Fairleigh Dickinson has gone right to the final buzzer -- or beyond for overtime -- and the team has won six of them.

"They know how to win and we don't. It's that simple," said Phelan after the last home appearance for seniors Chris Cavanagh, Jeff Hall, Bobby Hill and Dan Kalinowski, all of whom started.

They didn't go very long before a power failure stopped play for 15 minutes, further delaying a game that was preceded by ceremonies honoring the current seniors and the members of the Mount's 1962 College Division championship team.

When play was restored, both teams' high scorers, Kevin Booth of Mount St. Mary's and forward Wendell Brereton of the Knights, had their problems.

Booth and fellow guard Phil Galvin were being guarded industriously in the open court, so Phelan went to Cavanagh, whose broad body inside was virtually unstoppable on offense and defense.

Cavanagh had Brereton completely off his game and intimidated the Knights' penetrators all night, finishing with six blocks and 18 rebounds to go with 26 points. It was easily the top effort of his career.

"Chris played well," said Phelan. "He was big off the boards and in the middle. But we did exactly what we had to do to lose. Everybody else folded up."

The Mount had a 65-58 edge with 3 minutes and 4 seconds to to play in regulation, but the Knights tied it on a three-pointer by David Freeman. Two Mount turnovers and a charge by Galvin tainted three possessions.

Fairleigh Dickinson got two shots, the last with the clock expiring, but Brad McClain's 20-footer off a set play bounced off the rim.

In overtime, McClain hit a three-pointer immediately and the Mount never got closer than two points the rest of the way.

"We need somebody to step up and nobody's doing it," said Phelan. "We have good enough ballhandlers to get by, but we aren't. We pass worse than we shoot and we don't shoot very well."

The defeat left Mount St. Mary's with a 5-6 home record for the season and with six losses in its last seven games entering a two-game trip to Robert Morris and St. Francis (Pa.) to end the regular season.

Fairleigh Dickinson stayed a half-game behind Robert Morris in the race for the regular-season title.

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