McGuthrie's 22 power Mount, give Phelan victory No. 750 Team's winning streak is 7 after 89-69 rout of Wagner

February 06, 1996|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

EMMITSBURG -- He wasn't supposed to play. Instead, he starred.

Chris McGuthrie came off the bench to ignite his team twice last night and red-hot Mount St. Mary's gave coach Jim Phelan his 750th career victory, 89-69 over Northeast Conference rival Wagner at Knott Arena.

It was the seventh straight win for the Mountaineers (13-6, 9-2), who are zooming toward late-season showdowns here with Marist and Monmouth, both of whom lead them by a game in the league standings.

McGuthrie, who scored 22 points, was doubtful until a few hours before the game because of a hip injury he had suffered during the team's victory at Long Island University on Saturday.

He told Phelan he could play after the coach had devised his game plan with Silas Cheung starting.

But it was clearly McGuthrie, the NEC's top scorer, who provided the impetus, sinking five of six first-half three-point attempts to carry the Mount from its last deficit, 18-17, into a 15-point halftime cushion.

Wagner (7-12, 4-7) made a mild run in the second half before McGuthrie came off the bench again with 13 minutes left in the game to hit an immediate three.

Mount St. Mary's took clear control from there and was pulling away at the finish to win its 10th straight at home and 16th of the past 17.

"So much for being hurt and not being able to play," Phelan said of McGuthrie. "I didn't think we'd see him for a while after Saturday. I had kind of written him off for this game. Maybe we ought to always bring him off the bench."

McGuthrie concluded with 8-for-13 shooting from the field and took game-high scoring honors despite playing 25 minutes.

"I thought I was going to have to throw in the towel for a while," said McGuthrie. "But I was working out with Cliff [Warren, assistant coach] and about 1 o'clock it felt a little bit better."

The Mount also received a strong game from 6-foot-11 Gerben Van Dorpe, who played with extraordinary intensity after being burned for 37 points by Wagner's Frantz Pierre-Louis in their first meeting.

Van Dorpe had 10 rebounds, including seven on the offensive board, 14 points, a block and two steals.

"It was a little revenge, definitely," said the native of Belgium. "I tried to be more aggressive in my game. We got away with a win the first time [73-70 at Wagner], but I was disappointed in myself."

Phelan typically downplayed his latest achievement, one matched by only five other college coaches in history.

"That kind of thing doesn't enter my mind at all unless I read it in the papers or my grandson comes up to tell me, 'If you don't get it tonight, you'll get it Thursday,' " said Phelan.

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