Mount takes rocky road to 74-66 victory

December 19, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

EMMITSBURG -- The coming-out party for the new point man, Riley Inge, wasn't exactly picture-perfect at Mount St. Mary's last night.

Defenses dominated the sloppy game won by the Mountaineers, 74-66, before 2,250 at Knott Arena, and Inge showed some visible rustiness.

But for Inge, who hadn't officially played since the Maryland state high school championships in the spring of 1992, it was enough.

"It felt good to be out there," said the former Montgomery County Player of the Year. "I did a lot of running to try to get into shape,

but that's not the same as a game. I'm still not totally into it yet. It's going to take a couple of weeks to get fully warmed up."

A Proposition 48 player who became eligible at the end of the first semester, Inge contributed 11 points, 10 assists, three rebounds and two steals as the Mount concluded its season-opening homestand at 3-1.

The skills that will send Chris McGuthrie, his good friend, to shooting guard were apparent as Inge fit in nicely without the benefit of any formal practice.

"He wasn't with us until the walk-through before the game," said coach Jim Phelan. "But he'll be in the starting lineup in practice tomorrow."

The first 10 minutes of this game were ugly, with the teams committing 14 turnovers and hitting a combined two field goals. The inactivity because of exam breaks showed on both sides.

But Inge entered and hit his first two shots, and from there the Mountaineers had things pretty much their own way against the struggling Bison.

Bucknell (1-5) has beaten only Division III Marymount and played last night for the first time with its leading returning scorer, Chris Simpson, who has been troubled by ailing feet.

He hit four of 17 from the field -- including 0-for-5 from three-point range -- and had six turnovers.

"We're just not a good basketball team right now," said veteran coach Charlie Woollum.

"As sorry as this game was, it's hard to tell about Inge, but he's a good player, no doubt.

"Simpson hadn't played all year for us and he's such a crucial man. Plus, we've been in exams. I guess we're just paying some dues right now."

The Bison led by one point twice early in the second half, but spent most of the half playing catch-up.

McGuthrie, who finished with 23, hit all the key points to repulse the comebacks, knocking in nine of 11 during one stretch.

Michael Watson and Matt Meakin were primary beneficiaries of Inge's passing. Watson had 17 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks and backup center Meakin was 4-for-4 from the field for eight points and pulled down six rebounds.

Phelan is content with the 3-1 start after five Division I years of playing meat-grinder road schedules to start the season, bit not completely satisfied.

"I thought we'd be coming together a little bit better," he said. "But we're OK. Our problem is that it seems as though we keep other teams in the game and can't put them away."

"But we've won one we probably shouldn't have and lost one we probably shouldn't have, so it evens out."

The Mount is heading into games at Georgia Tech, Florida State and West Virginia, so it will need Inge and any discoveries it can find on the bench to be competitive.

"We've got to make sure we get good shots," said Phelan. "I think Riley will help us do that."

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