Monmouth ousts Mount in OT

March 03, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. -- The basketball season ended for Mount St. Mary's in overtime last night, and it all boiled down to two crucial plays.

After failing to put away Monmouth in regulation, the Mountaineers were done in by a 13-0 streak to end the game and lost an 88-77 decision in the Northeast Conference quarterfinals.

Second-seeded Monmouth advances to tomorrow night's semifinals at Boylan Gymnasium against No. 3 Robert Morris, which eliminated Marist.

John Giraldo's three-pointer pushed the Hawks in front, 78-77, with 2:03 remaining in the overtime, and Mount St. Mary's fell victim to turnovers and missed shots the rest of the way while Monmouth pulled away at the foul line.

The Mountaineers finished the season with a 14-14 record, marking the first time since 1990 they have closed at .500 or better.

But as far as Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan was concerned, the real issue came during the final minute of regulation when his team couldn't close out a victory.

"A couple of exotic calls went against us," said Phelan. "And there were no calls being made on some plays. This is the first time this year I've been upset with officiating."

The first instance came when Michael Watson was charged with a lane violation on the second of two made free throws by Riley Inge, who was outstanding with a game-high 25 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals.

The whistle reduced a 72-67 Mount lead to four points, meaning the Hawks did not need a three-point shot to tie in the final minute.

Thus, they rallied on a layup by Glenn Stokes and two free throws by Steve Barnes to tie at 71 with 10 seconds left in the regulation.

Phelan said Watson penetrated the lane "after Stokes went in" and Inge believed "the way the game was going, I don't think a call like that should be made at that point.

"I think it was a close call, but Stokes beat him in there. If that shot is good, we'd be up five and there would be a lot of pressure on them."

The final shot attempt provided what Phelan referred to as a no-call. Chris McGuthrie drove down the lane and tried to dump the ball off to Watson, who never got it off the floor.

As he struggled with two defenders, the buzzer sounded to signal overtime.

"We were looking for penetration and the dropoff," said the coach. "Chris got the ball down there where we wanted it and for some reason, we couldn't pick it up."

Inge and Chad Stull (12 points, 10 rebounds off the bench) kept the Mount in contention through the first three minutes of overtime before the Hawks ran off.

Mount St. Mary's forged ahead by as many as 11 points three times in the early minutes of the second half.

But the Hawks chipped away at the deficit with Giraldo and Sean Ryan leading the way, and at the 5:43 mark, they had erased the entire margin with two free throws by Giedrius Aidietis overtaking the Mount, 63-62.

But a counter streak put the Mount into a 71-67 lead with a minute left, setting up the controversial finish to regulation.

The outcome denied the Mount a second straight trip to the NEC semifinals and left them 5-9 on the road.

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