EMMITSBURG -- Mount St. Mary's finally broke the Fairleigh Dickinson spell and, as a result, got off to a running start in the Northeast Conference.
After eight straight defeats to the Knights dating to February 1990, the Mountaineers rolled to an 89-69 victory last night at Knott Arena, breaking their four-game losing streak.
It was never a contest after Mount St. Mary's went on a 9-0 run late in the first half to take a 35-23 lead.
Fairleigh Dickinson (4-5, 0-1) pulled within nine with the first basket of the second half, but lacked the firepower from outside to sustain a rally.
"We sort of got over a little hump that has haunted us," said Mountaineers guard Chris McGuthrie, who had a hot night (10-for-16, 28 points). "Maybe this symbolizes something about our team for this season."
McGuthrie and a combination of zone defenses by the Mountaineers powered the win.
The second-team all-NEC selection broke it open with 12 straight points, including three three-pointers, during the first-half surge.
"He was making everything," Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan said of McGuthrie. "We're always looking for something like that and somebody else chipping in."
In this game, Jeff Balistrere kept Mount St. Mary's (3-6, 1-0) competitive until McGuthrie warmed up, scoring nine of his 13 points in the first half. Guard Silas Cheung hit two quick shots when he entered the game late in the half and finished with nine points.
The Mountaineers shot a season-high 61.8 percent and hit seven of 13 three-point attempts.
On the defensive end, the zones did the job against the Knights' leading scorer, guard Antwan Dasher, who was held to seven shots and scored 12 points.
Fairleigh Dickinson showed a reluctance to shoot the three-pointer and finished 3-for-13 from beyond the line.
"Early on we made the mistake of going out on their shooters way out there," said McGuthrie. "Later, we wanted to make them shoot from outside, but they didn't want to."
The win was the first for the Mount since Dec. 17, when it exploded in the second half at Loyola.
Phelan praised the play of freshman forward Gerben Van Dorpe, noted as a good shooter, even though Van Dorpe scored only one basket.
"I was pleased that he gave us some quality minutes  and did some good things on the defensive end," said Phelan.