With 96-75 romp, Mount repays Robert Morris

February 14, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

EMMITSBURG -- Fire was in their eyes and payback in their hearts.

The Mount St. Mary's players needed no pre-game pep talks last night when Robert Morris visited Knott Arena.

And the game reflected their aroused state, as the Mounts never trailed in a 96-75 romp that kept them in the thick of the Northeast Conference championship race.

The game made a 180-degree turn from their first meeting, Jan. 16 at Robert Morris, when the Colonials shot 63.6 percent from the field, out-rebounded the Mounts 39-21 and rolled to a 90-76 victory.

It was the Colonials' conduct during and after that contest that piqued the Mounts players.

"The last time they were doing a little dance in the middle of the floor and didn't shake our hands after the game," said Mount St. Mary's freshman Chris McGuthrie, who scored a career-high 33 points.

"And Johnson [Samba Johnson, Colonials freshman guard] went Coach [Jim] Phelan and told him he'd better get a timeout. They were trash-talking to our bench."

Mount senior Kevin Booth said that when he saw Johnson lined up against him to start the game, "My eyes lit up. He was really talking to me the last time."

Despite being in foul trouble, Booth contributed 18 points on seven-of-eight shooting and hit three of four from three-point range.

"Our players were upset with their actions out in Pittsburgh," said Phelan. "We didn't have to do a whole lot of motivating, just tell them to remember what happened out there."

Mount St. Mary's (10-11, 9-5) clinched at least a .500 season in the conference after going 3-13 in 1991-92. The Mounts stayed one game behind co-leaders Rider and Wagner.

"We needed this at home," said Phelan, whose team is 6-2 on the NEC road but only 3-3 at Knott in league games.

It was the seventh straight defeat for Robert Morris (5-16, 3-10), the defending NEC champion and a team that has played in the NCAA tournament three of the past four years.

Colonials coach Jarrett Durham was effusive in his praise for McGuthrie, who made 14 of 25 shots after being held to season lows of 11 points and one assist in the Mounts' loss to Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday night.

"First, he [McGuthrie] hit a couple of NBA threes and we were forced to go out and get him. Then, he drove right around us to dish it off or score. It's one of the better performances I've ever seen in this league," said Durham, who is in his ninth season.

Robert Morris is in danger of becoming the first team in NEC history to go from first to last place in one season since the league was formed as the ECAC-Metro in 1981.

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