Another solid perfomance for Mt. St. Mary's as it controlled its quarterfinal matchup with Quinnipiac and walked away with a comfortable 80-70 win at the Knott Arena on Thursday night.
The win moves the Mount into the league semifinals on Sunday afternoon at Robert Morris. We expect the game will be broadcast on the NEC television network via FCS and MSG. Not bad for a team that didn't have a player chosen to any of the all-NEC teams released yesterday.
The Mounties were once again led by the late-season sensation Jean Cajou. The freshman guard scored 20 points, but struggled a little bit from the floor as he actually missed a few shots. Still his hot shooting fueled an early 17-0 run that gave the Mount a 22-10 lead and a lead it would never relinquish.
Jeremy Goode, who apparently isn't among the best seven guards in the league, had another stat stuffing performance. He finished with 15 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and a steal and had control of the game most of the night. If he's not in the best seven guards in the League, I'm watching a different league.
The Mount also got a clutch perfomance out of sophomore Kelly Beidler. The athletic forward scored 15 points and grabbed 8 rebounds coming through when some of the other Mount frontline players were saddled with some foul trouble. Chris Vann was also in double figures with 11, but played only 22 minutes due to foul difficulty.
Demario Anderson led the Bobcats with a quiet 21.
The Mount trailed 10-5 early but Cajou sandwiched three pointers around Goode's trifectas to spearhead the 17 point eruption, giving the Mount a 14-10 lead. The Mounties scored 8 more in succession after that. Goode, Sam Atupem, and Chris Vann had buckets during the run, while Beidler and Cajou made free throws during that stretch.
Quinnipiac cut the lead to two twice during the first half. The first time the Mount responded with a quick 9-1 run and the second time, the Mounties got a Beidler layin just before the halftime horn to lead by four at the break.
MSM started the second half with a 15-4 lead to effectively end the suspense. QU got the lead to eight on one occasion, but was never a threat.
The Mount must now do the rest of the work on the road in this conference tournament and it will not be easy in any fashion. The Mount faces Robert Morris, the conference regular season champ next. The Colonials downed the Mount twice during the regular season and are riding a 14-game winning streak.
The Mount may not have been at its best on Thursday night but still managed to win against a good conference opponent. They will have no such luxury on Sunday. To beat the champ, they must play at their top for 40 minutes.