Mount St. Mary's uses D to dispatch Long Island 93-58 thumping earns semifinal spot vs. Rider

March 02, 1996|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

EMMITSBURG -- The first step was easy. But now the road gets treacherous.

Mount St. Mary's launched defense of its Northeast Conference title in lopsided fashion last night, pounding Long Island University, 93-58, at Knott Arena.

There was no repeat of last year's scare here when Long Island took the issue to the final second when a Michael Watson layup kept the Mountaineers alive by a point.

This time Mount St. Mary's (21-6) broke away with a 17-1 run midway through the first half and cruised, primarily on the strength of its defense.

"It wasn't much of a game," said coach Jim Phelan. "I don't know whether they were waiting for the season to end or what."

Said point guard Riley Inge: "We put last year's stats [from the 68-67 victory] on the wall and kept in mind what could happen. We wanted to make a statement that a team will have to play its best to beat us here."

Rider, a winner over St. Francis (Pa.) last night, will present a tougher obstacle Monday night.

tTC The Broncs not only have two of the best players in the league -- forward Charles Smith and point guard Deon Hames -- but also a revenge motive: The Mount beat them in the NEC championship game on their own court last season.

"We expect that game to be a very tough one," said Phelan. "We've beaten them a few times in a row now, so they should be geared up. But we do match up pretty well with them."

Long Island (9-19) didn't match up at all in the quarterfinals. Once the Mountaineers closed down the Blackbirds' perimeter shooting, there wasn't much else.

Guard Dave Masciale, who has been a hot shooter of late, went 2-for-13 from three-point territory and 3-for-21 overall, reflecting Long Island's offensive woes. The Blackbirds shot 29 per cent from the field.

"A lot of teams come in here and it seems like they're giving up on us once we get a 15-point lead or so," said third guard Silas Cheung, who had a career-high 13 rebounds. "They seem to realize it's over."

Mount St. Mary's had only one negative all night, when starting freshman Tony Hayden fell and cut his right eye with five minutes gone into the second half. The wound required seven stitches, but Hayden returned.

Chris McGuthrie led the scoring with 24 points, but had only five after halftime and wound up sitting for 10 minutes.

Inge had his usual splendidly balanced night (19 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and a steal) and 6-foot-11 Gerben Van Dorpe blocked five shots.

"Basically, it was a pretty good, solid defensive effort," said Phelan. "We play a lot of guards and they understand what team defense is about."

But Rider will not provide another walk in the park.

"We all pointed to the Rider game last year," said Inge. "Now the tables have turned and they're thinking the same as we did then."

NEC tournament

At higher-seeded teams

First round: Wednesday

LIU 82, St. Francis, N.Y. 63

Robert Morris 68, FDU 66

Quarterfinals: Yesterday

Mount St. Mary's 93, L. Island 58

Marist 70, Robert Morris 51

Monmouth 64, Wagner 55

Rider 84, St. Francis, Pa. 70

Semifinals: Monday

Rider at Mt. St. Mary's, 7:30 p.m.

Monmouth at Marist, 7:30 p.m.

Championship: Friday

Semifinal winners, 4:30 p.m.

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