Mount slips down stretch, falls, 65-60

Robert Morris storms back from 15 down in 2nd half

February 08, 2002|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

EMMITSBURG - Prosperity was not kind to the Mount St. Mary's basketball team last night.

Still short-handed and striving to break a five-game losing streak, the Mount couldn't protect a 15-point, second-half lead and squandered a Northeast Conference game to Robert Morris, 65-60, at Knott Arena.

"We had them, and we just buckled," said Mount point guard Esmond Marvray after his finest game of the season (10 points, six assists, four steals and seven rebounds).

Robert Morris (9-14, 7-7) scored the final eight points, while the Mount committed two key turnovers and failed to convert on two important ball possessions.

A dunk by Matt Smith shoved the Colonials in front 61-60, and three different teammates combined for four free throws to put it away.

The team's 14th defeat in the past 15 games didn't sit well with coach Jim Phelan after Robert Morris shot 61 percent in the second half and exploited a tiring Mount starting lineup.

"We managed to find a way to lose to them out there [66-57 despite 14 Mount three-pointers], and [now] we did it here," said an exasperated Phelan. "Needless to say, I'm annoyed as hell.

"It's hard enough to get victories, but when you've got one in the palm of our hands and let it slip away like that, it's annoying."

Mount St. Mary's (2-19, 1-13) is last in the NEC and probably consigned to not making the league tournament. This was a night for some possible solace.

Everything worked magnificently for a half as the Mount went ahead 28-13 and appeared to have the game in control. After a conventional three-point play by Pat Atangana (16 points, 10 rebounds), the margin was 15 at 40-25.

"We were all confident," said Marvray of the team's lighthearted manner in the first half. "We were playing intense defense, and that's how we're going to play from here on out - to make the best of it."

But the Colonials, who had lost three of their previous four, suddenly found the range as Phelan could locate little help on his depleted bench with guard Donte Alexander away because of a death in the family.

Marvray and fellow guard Jerry Lloyd had to play all 40 minutes. Lloyd could not find the basket, shooting 1-for-11 from long range. The Mount went 2-for-17 overall on three-pointers.

"You've got to make stuff down the stretch," said Phelan. "We played hard, but suddenly we couldn't keep up with them. Usually, when you're getting tight you're concerned about playing time and the guy behind you, but we don't have that many players. When we got to 15, I felt we were going to carry it, then we hit a wall."

ROBERT MORRIS - Thomas 3-7 0-0 6, Smith 3-4 1-2 7, Richburg 4-10 0-0 12, Ellis 1-3 1-1 3, Bacon 2-9 2-2 7, Carter 0-2 3-6 3, Fluellen 4-7 4-4 13, McCrommon 6-6 0-0 12, Davenport 0-0 0-0 0, Darden 1-2 0-1 2. Totals 24-50 11-16 65.

MOUNT ST. MARY'S - Atangana 5-9 6-7 16, Rivera 7-13 1-2 15, Christian 2-5 0-0 5, Lloyd 3-17 4-4 11, Marvray 3-6 4-5 10, Bajornas 0-2 0-0 0, Adasi 1-1 1-1 3, Carbone 0-1 0-0 0, Epps 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-55 16-19 60. Halftime-Mount St. Mary's 30-21. 3-point goals-Robert Morris 6-16 (Richburg 4-6, Fluellen 1-1, Bacon 1-5, Carter 0-1, Thomas 0-3); Mount St. Mary's 2-17 (Christian 1-2, Lloyd 1-11, Marvray 0-2, Bajornas 0-2). Rebounds-Robert Morris 36 (McCrommon, Bacon 6); Mount St. Mary's 28 (Atangana 10). Assists- Robert Morris 14 (Fluellen, Richburg 3); Mount St. Mary's 13 (Marvray 6). Total fouls-Robert Morris 19, Mount St. Mary's 18. Fouled out-Ellis, Christian. Technical fouls-none. A-1,582.

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