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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Mount is back in the Dance

One of the ugliest games the Mount has played in about a month, led to one of the most beautiful scenes.

The Mount advanced to the NCAA tournament with a gritty, gutty win 68-55 over Sacred Heart on Wednesday on the Pioneers home court earning the Mountaineers their third NCAA berth.

Jean Cajou and Kelly Beidler each scored 15 points as the Mount secured the NEC title.

Heavy on the Mount's mind was the health of classmate Dustin Bauer, who was placed on life support after he was injured in a fall on campus over the weekend. Fans in attendance chanted his name as the seconds wound down on the clock.

"If he was healthy, he would have been here," said senior guard Chris Vann, a close friend of Bauer's told CBSSportsline afterwards. "He was one of the 'Mount Maniacs' at the school. We did it for him, but we did it for us as well. It felt like he was the sixth man on the court."

Cajou made two key threes in the second half to restore a Mount lead and when the Pioneers threatened again down the stretch it was Beidler who answered with a bucket and some key foul shots as the Mount closed the game on an 11-0 run. It was Beidler's layin in traffic that ignited the rally.

The championship is the first for the Mount since Milan Brown took over from legendary head coach Jim Phelan five years ago. Brown, who was an assistant during Phelan's tenure, made a key offensive philosophy change midway through the season. That led to a 10-4 finish for the Mount and this championship run.

Sophomore guard Jeremy Goode also had a key night for the Mount. He finished with 13 points and 5 assists and when the Mount spread the floor and let Goode operate in space during the second half, the lead ballooned again.

The Mount is a sure candidate for the play-in game in Dayton next week, but could avoid that fate depending on some outcomes later this week. Either way the Mount is sure to face a #1 seed if it does survive or avoid the Play-In.

2 comments:

  1. Raff, they played a great game, my hats off to them. They were able to shut our offense down. Good luck in the play-in game versus the SWAC winner.

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  2. They were at the top of their game defensively. But not quite at the A level offensively for me. Too many silly turnovers. Still some of that credit goes to Sacred Heart. And they were phenomenal from the foul line. So it was a good performance - and a great program building win.

    Not sure about the Play-in. I've got some theories and hope to post them before the brackets are announced. It is definitely a possibility though.

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