Wagner ends Mount's run at 3 on late jumper, 73-72

January 19, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

EMMITSBURG -- Blame for this 73-72 Mount St. Mary's defeat last night could be found in any number of places.

Chris McGuthrie's stomach virus limited him to 3-for-12 from the floor and seven points, the second-lowest total of his career. Matt Meakin was charged with goaltending on what would have been a missed Wagner foul shot in a one-point game.

And Jeff Balistrere failed to hit the front end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity with 2 seconds left that would have reversed the outcome of the Northeast Conference game at the Mount's Knott Arena.

But just as responsible, according to coach Jim Phelan, was a seven-minute stretch early in the second half when the Mountaineers "lost our defensive intensity completely. That's when we lost this game, not at the end."

The loss ended a three-game winning streak for Mount St. Mary's (6-8, 3-4 in the conference).

Wagner (7-7, 3-3) took advantage with a 23-7 surge, fueled by forward Tony Rice's nine points, and grabbed a 58-44 lead, the biggest of the game.

Phelan stopped the run with a timeout and obviously ordered his team to get the ball inside to 6-foot-11 freshman Randy Edney (18 points) and Michael Watson (20 points).

Those two players scored 17 of the Mountaineers' next 19 points, reversing the momentum.

In the midst of that stretch, Meakin was caught grabbing the strings as Bobby Hopson's free-throw attempt rolled around on the rim, giving Wagner a point that later proved crucial.

But that was virtually the extent of the Seahawks' attack for almost seven minutes when they didn't score a field goal. Then came the only one they needed.

After Mount St. Mary's finally pulled ahead, 72-71, on a follow shot by Balistrere with 16 seconds to go, Wagner got the final crack.

The winner came from an unlikely source, reserve forward Todd Rohlin, who made a 10-foot jumper from the left wing for his only basket of the game.

"We did send him in to be a fifth shooter in that situation," Seahawks coach Tim Capstraw said of Rohlin. "Set plays never seem to work, so we just call motion. Guys get too nervous when a play is supposed to go to somebody specific."

"We all knew the first guy open had to make the shot," said Rohlin, who played only 12 minutes and had only one other

attempt. "I was in there to be the fifth option."

Mount St. Mary's inbounded up the right sideline toward Balistrere, who collided with Lamont Street as both went for the ball.

Street was charged with a foul and Balistrere went to the line with the chance to win the game. The first shot bounded off the rim and Hopson grabbed it and covered the ball as the clock expired.

"What hurt us again is that we let a team stay in the game too long and then almost get away from us," Phelan said.

The win was Wagner's first on the road in the conference.

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