Christian scores 24 as Mount ends 5-game skid

15-0 2nd-half run quells St. Francis (N.Y.), 69-58

January 21, 2003|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

EMMITSBURG - There are 14 members of Mount St. Mary's men's basketball team, but it's become apparent that as junior guard Jamion Christian goes this season, so go the Mountaineers.

That was more than apparent last night as Christian tied a career high with 24 points to help Mount St. Mary's halt a five-game losing streak with a 69-58 win over St. Francis (N.Y.).

In Mount St. Mary's six wins this season, Christian is averaging 15.6 points a game, compared with a 6.9 average in the Mountaineers' eight losses.

"He's one of our more experienced players, so it certainly helps when he plays well," said Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan, who earned his 825th career victory, most of any active Division I coach. "I think we were due to erupt. It wasn't a pretty game, but [St. Francis] made it that way, so we had to turn it into a dog fight to win."

Mount St. Mary's (6-8, 1-4 Northeast Conference) and St. Francis each went just six of 21 from the field (29 percent) in the first 20 minutes, and the Terriers committed 12 fouls and 12 turnovers, just slightly better than the Mountaineers' nine fouls and nine turnovers.

Christian, however, was just starting to heat up. In the opening minutes, he hit a deep three-pointer, and then as the half was winding down, he scored on three straight possessions to give the Mountaineers a 21-17 lead going into the locker room.

"We were aggressive early, but our shots weren't falling," Christian said. "I don't think we've been taking poor shots lately, I just don't think they've been going in. But we had a team meeting yesterday and looked at some tape with the coaches and I think that helped us a lot."

After St. Francis took a 32-30 lead at the 16-minute mark of the second half, Mount St. Mary's finally did answer. Chris Sumner hit a pair of jumpers and Landy Thompson knocked down a pair as well, sparking the Mountaineers on a 15-0 run. Christian capped it with another three-pointer, and the Terriers (3-11, 0-5 NEC) never seriously threatened again.

"It was tough tonight," Phelan said. "We won by 11, but it really felt like we should have stretched it out to 20 and made it a laugher. We didn't, but we finally hit back-to-back shots. ... Maybe we broke out of our slump."

ST. FRANCIS (N.Y.)-Strong 5-12 9-10 20, Sockwell 4-8 3-4 11, Wilson 1-5 0-0 3, Cavalieri 0-3 0-0 0, Dockery 5-9 4-7 16, Quintana 1-3 0-0 3, Wiatre 1-1 0-0 2, Neckles 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 0-2 0-0 0, Thevenot 0-0 0-0 0, Hatcher 0-1 3-6 3, Thompson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-44 19-27 58. MOUNT ST. MARY'S-Atangana 1-3 3-4 5, Rivera 0-3 3-5 3, Thompson 6-16 4-4 17, Sumner 3-6 6-6 13, Christian 7-11 7-9 24, Butler 1-3 0-2 2, Cook 1-2 0-0 3, Alexander 0-0 0-0 0, Dodson 1-1 0-0 2, Epps 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-45 23-30 69. Halftime-Mount St. Mary's, 21-17. 3-point goals- St. Francis 5-16 (Strong 1-4, Wilson 1-3, Cavalieri 0-1, Dockery 2-5, Quintana 1-2 Brown 0-1), Mount St. Mary's 6-13 (Thompson 1-5, Sumner 1-2, Christian 3-5, Cook, 1-1. Fouled out-Wilson, Atangana. Rebounds-St. Francis (Strong), Mount St. Mary's (Atangana, Rivera). Assists-St. Francis (Cavalieri), Mount St. Mary's (Epps). Total fouls-St. Francis 28, Mount St. Mary's 23. A-1,278.

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