I've had a little bit more than 12 hours to digest the Mount win over Boston University last night. It was a good win for the Mounties. Anytime you beat a team with a winning record from another conference, its a good win. This one came against the team that is projected to win the America East this year, and has been playing fairly well to start the season.
A couple of housekeeping notes, before I break into the thoughts from the action last night.
....Great crowd on hand at the ARCC. Not sure everyone realized they were showing up to see Boston U and not Boston C but so be it. And I'll bet there are a few who went home thinking the Mount beat Boston C, again so be it. This is an exciting team and everyone should get out to see them. The official announced attendance was 1568, but it seemed like more than that. Had the students been there, I'm sure the atmosphere would have been more raucous.
....The banner ceremony was nice. Milan Brown thanked his team, the fans and his staff, before calling on the departed Chris Vann to pull the cord and the banner fell. Gone are the small banners recognizing the other NEC members, up is the banner recognizing the 2008 NEC tournament champions. I did note there is room for additional banners on that wall. Its a snazzy banner in the new Blue and Gold with the new insignia. If you weren't there last night, you'll like it when you see it next time.
....There was also a notice of the All-Century team on all the seats for the fans when they arrived.
....Danny Thompson and Malcolm Parham were in street clothes last night. Not sure of the cause. Neither has appeared in any of the first four games.
....I also noticed the departed Jason Loughry on hand for the festivities, and if I can match up internet photographs with tall players in street clothes, Raven Barber was also in the house.
Ok now to my thoughts from the game.
I gotta admit, I was a little concerned headed to the game last night. I didn't have the same feeling I had going into the last few games. Maybe it was because this was a game, I thought the Mount should win. That makes a difference on expectations. Plus I really thought this game was a key to jumpstart a busy week, one that will not be easy.
I have to say that the team put me at ease pretty quickly. It was obvious from the outset that the Mount was the far superior team, in terms of a matchup standpoint. There really wasn't a matchup on the floor, that I thought BU had an advantage.
Consequently, BU opened in a zone. It was either a 2-3 or a 1-2-2, but it was extremely soft in the middle. The Mount, prior to past attempts at attacking a zone of this sorts, went right at that soft spot at the foul line and really attacked it well. I think the desired effect from the BU staff was to eliminate Jeremy Goode's penetration and for the most part that was succesful. But BU was only playing the zone after made baskets and the Mount defense was keeping them from scoring so the Mount was facing a lot of man-to-man defense as well, as was succeeding. Early in the game, I had the thought that the Mount was going to win by 20. They appeared very sharp, and were playing a team that was athletically insuperior.
About that time, BU started making everything. In particular, Curtis Strong who came off the bench starting making everything. Strong made 3 first half three-pointers and finished with 18. His flurry, along with a three from Corey Lowe in the stretch turned a 13-5 deficit into a 24-21 Terrier lead.
But the Mount got control back, and got it back quickly. Markus Mitchell had seven points in a 17-4 run to restore the lead to eight, when Jean Cajou bombed in a three-pointer from the wing with just over four minutes to play in the half.
The Mount led 40-33 at the break as John Holland's three pointer got the lead back to single digits before intermission.
After the break, the Mount built the lead to 12, before BU went to a 1-3-1 zone it had tinkered with in the first half and slowly cut into the lead. The defense seemed to keep the Mount away from the basket and force it to shoot from the outside. Many of those jumpers came with the rangy 6-5 Holland (who played the top of the zone very well) flying at them. It seemed to bother the Mount. The Mounties shot a season high 25 three-pointers and made just 6.
But it was a key three-pointer that restored the lead after the Terriers had tied it at 62-all. Kelly Beidler, who has missed more shots in four games that seemed to be home than most guys miss all season, found the mark with the key bucket of the game from the corner. Goode followed it up by picking the pocket of Marques Johnson and rushing in for a layup to make it 67-62. Two plays and the game was won.
That was all there was to it. From there the Mount made its foul shots and walked away with a key win, that who knows, may keep them out of the play-in game come March.
Oh yeah there was that matter of the possible shot clock violation before Shawn Atupem's bucket with under a minute to play. Fact is, chances are high, real high that the goal was late. Checking the play-by-play on the Mount website confirms that the bucket was late, although I'm not sure it was as late as the site indicates. The situation was this: the Mount called timeout with 57 seconds left and proceeded to take three shots - none of the first two hit the rim - before Atupem scored. BU brought the ball up the floor and the game was whistled dead with 31 on the shot clock and 43.something on the game clock. With the game clock stopping off the made basket and shot clock having run off four seconds since the inbounds, and there being eight seconds on the shot clock when the Mount called timeout, I quickly determined in the crowd that if the timeout came before 55 seconds - which the p-b-p shows 57 then there was no way the shot should have counted. But the three referees couldn't come to the same conclusion. But I'm pretty sure BU Coach Wolff had figured it out. Because he was not happy. Not happy at all. Still it pushed the Mount lead from five to seven, and I don't think it really would have mattered anyhow. The Mount had 72 points before the disputed basket and BU finished with 69. So....
Anyhow, I thought this was probably the best 40 minutes the Mount had played all year. They certainly looked to push the ball and had great success doing it. The total field goal percentage of 43 percent, includes the 24 percent from behind the arc. The Mount was 19-of-33 from inside the arc, as the Mount did a good job on the fast break and getting the ball inside early.
Jeremy Goode was as good as always, and maybe slightly better than we've seen. He finished with 23, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals for the Cousy nominee. OBTW, Goode was 8-for-8 from the line.
But it was the fact that the Mount got everyone involved that impressed me the most. Jean Cajou finished with 16, Shawn Atupem had 11 and Markus Mitchell a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards.
The Mount dominated on the glass and outrebounded BU 46-29 for the game.
No rest for the Mounties, they begin a 3-game road trip tomorrow night at American.