Mount St. Mary's races past St. Francis

February 06, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

EMMITSBURG -- On a night when Riley Inge and Chris McGuthrie, the starting guards, couldn't buy a three-point basket, backcourt reserve Sefton Robinson briefly stole their spotlight.

The former walk-on from Washington's McKinley High punctuated a 20-6 Mount St. Mary's run with two four-point plays and helped the Mountaineers to a 74-62 victory over St. Francis (N.Y.) last night.

A Knott Arena crowd of 3,180 on homecoming night watched the Mountaineers rebound from Thursday's shocking loss to another Northeast Conference weakling, Long Island, with an inspired second half.

"It would have been bad to lose to both these New York teams in three days," Robinson said. "The first time we played them we beat both of them by a lot of points. But we sort of picked it up the second half and did what we had to do."

LIU's upset here is its only NEC victory, and St. Francis (1-19, 1-12) has lost 12 in a row since winning at LIU in its first league game.

The Mountaineers played the first half as if they were still feeling the aftereffects of their third defeat in the league at home.

In one stretch, St. Francis committed seven turnovers and Mount St. Mary's ( 12-9, 8-5) simultaneously failed to score from the field. From 14:11 until 6:48 of the first half, the Mount went without a basket.

"We made enough mistakes to last us the rest of the year," said coach Jim Phelan. "We just can't get operating smoothly. We can't get the ball to the shooters in time and when we do, they haven't been making the shots."

Inge and McGuthrie were 0-for-11 from three-point range. In his past three games, scoring leader McGuthrie is 13-for-47 from the field.

Fortunately, super sub Michael Watson was around. Just when the Terriers' shooting started warming up and they threatened to go ahead comfortably by halftime, Watson commandeered the game.

In less than a minute near the end of the half, he blocked three shots on one side of the floor and scored three buckets and a free throw on the other.

That spree chopped heavily into a 28-20 Terriers lead and enabled the Mount to stay within two at the break.

Then Robinson featured the clinching run with three-pointers from both corners and converted the foul shots after each.

"In high school, most of my points came on steals and in transition," he said. "But over the summer, I put in a lot of hard work on my offensive game. I can do a lot more damage than last year."

Phelan said: "He's a much better shooter. I can't think of a quicker way to get eight points than two four-point plays."

Mount St. Mary's again played without freshman center Randy Edney, who will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery tomorrow, and forward Jeff Balistrere, who missed his fifth straight game with a calf injury.

It was the sixth victory in the past seven games and ninth in the past 11 for Phelan's team, which retains hopes of winning the NEC regular-season title.

"At halftime we're thinking 0-2 against these two [cellar-dwelling] teams," Phelan said. "But Watson gave us a big lift and then we got a little shooting."

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