American keeps Mount on a rocky road, 87-71

December 04, 1992|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- The load of the road continues to bother Mount St. Mary's.

The Mountaineers never recovered from a lethargic start and lost their 21st straight game on an opposing court, 87-71, to American University last night at Bender Arena.

For the opening 4 1/2 minutes they didn't score, going 0-for-5 from the field and committing five turnovers.

"That 9-0 spurt at the start kind of did us in," said Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan. "We made some runs later, but we never could catch up.

"We knew they were going to press right from the beginning, but it was a lot harder than what we worked against in practice."

By halftime, Mount St. Mary's had been charged with 20 personal fouls, had committed 18 turnovers and had shot 32 percent from the field.

"The press was very effective," said American coach Chris Knoche. "All in all, we did a pretty good job defensively. I hate to use this word but we dominated the first half.

"Yet, we only had 11 field goals. That is a unfathomable combination for how much the ball was in our offensive end."

The Mount's freshman point guard, Chris McGuthrie, did not start because of an assortment of miseries (cold, hip pointer, various bruises) and had a shaky first half.

But he settled in after the break to hit some key three-pointers and score a game-high 25 points. It was too late.

"I wasn't feeling well for a half. I've been sick for a while and didn't practice for about a week," said McGuthrie. "The second half I warmed up. By then, they had killed us with turnovers. I made a lot of them [10] myself."

The Eagles (1-0) more than compensated for Mount St. Mary's improved second-half play with their constant trips to the free-throw line.

Five Mount players fouled out, and American easily overcame a 26-23 field goal deficit with 40 of 58 from the line.

American went on an 11-2 run, with Tim Fudd scoring eight of the points, to break away for good at 23-11 after a brief Mount rally.

In the second half, Mount St. Mary's used McGuthrie's long-range shooting and one three-pointer by Doug John to close to 74-63 with 3:08 remaining.

"They never gave up," said Phelan, who refused to criticize the officials despite the wide disparity in free throws.

"The usual stuff," he said. "I don't think I've ever had five guys foul out except maybe down the river at Kentucky Wesleyan, maybe."

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