Mount fails to ease Phelan's exit with 82-69 loss to LIU

Poor shooting at home again a major problem as team drops 5th in row

College Basketball

January 19, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

EMMITSBURG - The Jim Phelan farewell tour didn't exactly get off to a rousing start at home last night.

In the first game since the legendary coach announced his retirement after 49 years at season's end, Mount St. Mary's never led and bowed to Long Island, 82-69, at Knott Arena, the Mount's fifth consecutive defeat.

"It's easy to see why," Phelan said. "When you go 10-for-40 in the second half in your own gym and 2-for-21 on threes, you're going to lose, particularly when you're also out-rebounded."

Long Island (4-9, 2-2 Northeast Conference) ended a five-game skid, thanks primarily to the return of its all-league point guard, Antawn Dobie, who skillfully directed the offensive traffic and scored 27 points, including 9-for-10 from the free-throw line down the stretch.

"We were a different team when he came back," Blackbirds coach Jim Ferry said of Dobie, who missed two games with a torn right labrum that will require surgery after the season. "He makes the other players on the floor better, and, if you don't focus on him, he can score 40 himself."

A horrendous beginning in which the Mount (5-8, 0-4) appeared listless prompted Phelan to pull all five of his starters with LIU ahead 5-0 and dominating the backboards with little competition.

"We were like asleep at the switch," Phelan said. "We were just standing around watching. So I put in the second team. In practice recently, they are frequently beating the first team. Maybe we're playing the wrong people."

The Mount recovered with freshman Kiel Butler scoring five of the points to tie for the only time all night at 7. Then, the rally flattened out and Phelan's team fought uphill the rest of the game.

Phelan finds it strange that his team "shoots better away from here than at home," and Butler (13 points) theorized that's probably because the players "don't focus as well at home. You're around all your friends beforehand. People need to isolate themselves more."

The Mount made a final push, cutting a 13-point deficit to 64-60, but Dobie regained control and two technical fouls against Jamion Christian near the end made the final margin greater.

LONG ISLAND - Bell 5-8 0-3 10, Bey 3-9 6-9 12, Edwards 4-6 0-2 8, Dobie 6-12 12-14 27, Thomas 3-6 1-4 7, Titus 1-1 0-0 2, Williams 1-2 2-2 5, Yearwood 1-4 1-2 3, Gary 3-4 2-2 8. Totals 27-52 24-38 82. MOUNT ST. MARY'S - Atangana 3-6 5-8 11, Epps 1-2 0-0 2, Thompson 4-19 9-9 18, Sumner 0-6 2-2 2, Christian 2-6 2-3 6, Butler 4-6 4-5 13, Adasi 2-7 0-0 4, Cok 2-8 0-0 4, Dodson 1-2 0-0 2, Rivera 2-6 3-4 7. Totals 21-68 25-31 69. Halftime - Long Island, 36-28. 3-point goals - LI 4-12 (Dobie 3-7, Williams 1-2 Yearwood 0-3), MSM 2-21 (Thompson 1-8, Sumner 0-4, Christian 0-2, Butler 1-1, Adasi 0-2, Cook 0-4 ). Rebounds - LI 48 (Bell 13), MSM 41 (Thomson 9). Assists - LI 15 (Dobie 8), MSM 10 (Sumner 3). A - 1,938.

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