In a battle for third position in the NEC standings, Sacred Heart downed Mt. St. Mary's 67-59 at Knott Arena in Emmitsburg on Saturday night.
Brice Brooks led the Pioneers with 19 points, including a key three-point play down the stretch. The Pioneers were limited to 42% shooting, but made 8 of 16 three-pointers and Brooks was 6-for-9 to fuel the offense.
The Mount led 55-54 before Brooks completed the conventional three-point play with 3:20 left to give the Pioneers the lead 57-55. Sam Atupem, who tallied 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting scored to tie it for the Mount. But SHU scored 10 of the last 12 points to earn the victory.
Chris Vann led the Mount with 16 points. Jeremy Goode chipped in with 14 as the Mount had three players with 14 or more. Kelly Beidler had another solid performance for the Mount with 6 points and 9 rebounds in 23 minutes.
Watching Sacred Heart makes it fairly obvious what is wrong with the Mount offense right now. The offense has no pace. The Mount looked to force the tempo early, and with great success at that. The Mounties scored 14 points in the first five minutes of the game, but just 45 in the remaining 35 minutes as they once again labored through the half court sets. Yet anytime they attacked offensively they seemed to have success.
One other positive for the Mount was the play of freshman Shawn Atupem. His constant hustle made a difference and he had one of his better performances of his career.
The Pioneers are clearly not as talented or athletic as the Mount. Yet, their ball movement and player movement off the ball on offense is far superior. Consequently, they end up with open jump shots against a fairly good Mountaineer defense.
The loss drops the Mount to 4-3 in conference play. The Mount faces a two game roadtrip at the end of next week to New York City. They'll face Wagner on Staten Island on Thursday evening. Then they take on Long Island on Saturday afternoon. The Mount is in desperate need of at least a split on that trip. That will not come easy.