Pain ends for the Mount, 89-82

January 11, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

EMMITSBURG -- The heartbreak ended last night.

After losing two consecutive league games in the final seconds, Mount St. Mary's led all the way and defeated St. Francis (Pa.), 89-82, in a Northeast Conference contest at Knott Arena.

It was the first NEC victory for the Mountaineers, who handled the St. Francis defensive pressure with a smaller, quicker lineup than normal and received a big game from 6-foot-6 forward Larry Townes.

The freshman from Anacostia High in Washington scored a career-high 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting and led all rebounders with eight.

"Now we can relax until the next game," said Townes after Mount St. Mary's (4-7, 1-3) broke a six-game losing streak. "We had to get over the hump."

Point guard Riley Inge led Mount St. Mary's, which shot 54 percent, with 21 points.

"It was ugly, but it was a win," said coach Jim Phelan. "We played strong basketball when we had to play strong. We knew all the traps and full courts [defenses] were coming and we played them well."

Mount St. Mary's started with a 10-1 run that included five points by Townes on follow-up shots.

The Red Flash (2-8, 2-3) closed within one twice, the last time at 43-42 on a three-pointer by Deon George with 16:52 remaining.

But the next four Mount St. Mary's baskets came on three layups and a slam by Randy Edney as the St. Francis press faltered.

"They get after you," said Phelan. "They keep pressing and pressing, so they're a tough team to beat."

But Inge and Chris McGuthrie, who played point guard last season, beat the defense enough to limit Mount St. Mary's turnovers to 19 and produce easy baskets by Townes and Michael Watson (15 points).

Townes has started the past four games in place of Watson, the NEC's best sixth man a year ago. The shift has worked well for both players.

"Watson gives us a big lift when he comes in," said the coach. "That doesn't seem to happen when he starts. And Townes is getting the rebounds and giving us scoring inside, which we need badly."

"Riley is 6-4 and he can see me over the top of defensive players," said Townes. "When a team is pressing like this I can out-quick my man and get open."

The loss in its fourth game in eight days kept St. Francis winless in eight road starts.

George, who became the 31st Red Flash player to reach 1,000 career points last Saturday, led all scorers with 26.

Mount St. Mary's was out-rebunded by an average of 43-29 in its first three league games, but edged the Red Flash 37-35 on the boards.

The game was the fourth in seven nights for Mount St. Mary's, which is in the midst of a stretch that includes nine games in 18 days.

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