Mount sputters past Robert Morris, 84-76 McGuthrie scores 28 to nail down 'bad win'

January 21, 1996|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

EMMITSBURG -- It was one of those blase games in which Mount St. Mary's never appeared endangered, but was never totally superior either.

The Mountaineers simply did enough to win last night at Knott Arena, ending a two-game Northeast Conference losing streak with an 84-76 victory over Robert Morris.

But they weren't overly impressive against an undersized and inexperienced team sustaining a school-record 12th straight defeat.

"We could not get rid of them and never put them away," said Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan. "I didn't really feel RTC threatened, just annoyed."

Mount St. Mary's (7-6, 3-2) led by margins ranging from six to 12 points through most of the night, but seemed on the verge of a runaway when the NEC's top scorer, Chris McGuthrie, warmed up in the second half.

Eight straight points by McGuthrie put the Colonials down, 67-52, with 7:24 to play in the game. But Robert Morris fought back with that most convenient of weapons, the three-point shot.

Second in the league in three-point shooting percentage, the Colonials delivered four bombs before two free throws by Bacari Alexander pulled them to within 78-72 with 54 seconds remaining.

But McGuthrie's two foul shots and a basket by Gerben Van Dorpe finally iced the verdict for the Mounts, now 4-0 at home this season.

"That was a bad win," said McGuthrie , who finished with a game-high 28 points on 10-for-21 shooting. "You've got to have a killer instinct and that's something we've been lacking. We've never really put it to anybody."

Robert Morris, which fell to 0-8 on the road, has seven players in its 10-man rotation in their first year at the college level and no double-figure scorers.

The Colonials never led after the game's first basket, but could never overcome their youth and poor ball-handling. They committed 21 turnovers and did not defense the Mounts well (58 percent shooting).

Freshman Keith Jones and veteran Bill Fletcher (7-for-7 from the field) each scored 16 points for Robert Morris.

"We're going to have to play better defense," said Phelan. "Robert Morris did basic things, but they did it well, scoring, penetrating and hitting the inside guy.

"But when they're playing 10 guys coming in and out, you never know who's in the game."

Riley Inge was sensational again for the Mountaineers with 23 points (8-for-10 from the field, 4-for-4 on three-pointers) and game highs of eight rebounds and nine assists.

He also had a lot to do with McGuthrie getting hot after a sub-par first half.

"He and I play together well," said McGuthrie. "We use a lot of eye contact and just seem to know what the other is going to do."

Will that be enough against the NEC's better teams?

"I hope others can score, too. Otherwise, they'll be able to concentrate on Riley and me," McGuthrie said.

"We'll be OK if we can get 10 here, 12 there from some other people," said Phelan. "It's important to win these at home, but we've got to get something on the road. We haven't done it there."

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