The Mountaineers rebounded from a tough loss and took advantage of poor shooting by the St. Francis Red Flash to come away with a 52-40 homecoming victory on Jan. 24th.
St. Francis (10-9, 4-4 NEC) shot 30.4 percent from the field, while the Mount (9-10, 5-3 NEC) shot over 45 percent from the field, including 30 percent from three point range. Junior Robinson provided the damage offensively by scoring a team-high 10 points, while Gregory Graves led the team with eight rebounds. The Mount held St. Francis to 40 points, the lowest such point total by an opponent since 2004.
After the loss to Robert Morris on Thursday, the team was ready to get back on the court. Graves said that Friday’s practice was filled with “good focus and positive energy.” This directly translated to the game.
With the game hanging the balance in the closing minutes of the second half, it was Graves who provided the knock-out punch with a timely three-pointer. The bucket increased the Mount’s lead to nine with a few minutes to go.
The Mount fan section was relentless throughout the game. After Graves’s score it was safe for everyone to start singing Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.” The team embraced the fan section at the end of the game for their strong support.
The home team provided the type of performance that everyone was hoping to see this homecoming weekend. Coach Jamion Christian said afterword,.“It’s a really great win for us today not only because it is homecoming but because St. Francis PA is a very good team,”.
The Mountaineers stared down a 15-9 deficit early in the first half. That’s when Christian called a timeout, and the team never looked back.
A Kristijan Krajina dunk was followed up by a pair of Charles Glover buckets to cut the Red Flash lead to one. On the following possession, a well-designed play sent Glover across the baseline to set up an assist to Krajina to give the Mount their first lead since the opening minutes.
As the first half drew to a close, a Byron Ashe three-pointer made it 21-18. Chris Martin’s drive to the basket on the final possession of the first half made the halftime score 23-22.
It appeared the Red Flash would mount a comeback in the second half when Will Miller’s turnover went the other way for a layup to decrease the Mount’s lead to 33-29. However, great defense saved the day. The team hit the ground hard for loose balls and eventually built an 11 point lead thanks to great second half shooting.
The Mountaineers have embarked on a tough stretch in their conference schedule that includes St. Francis Brooklyn on Jan. 29th and Bryant on Feb. 5th.