Written for your enjoyment by: Raff
I know nothing that I write in this space is going to possibly come close to matching what went on at Knott Arena this afternoon.
That's because what went on is virtually indescribable. The Mount knocked off heated rival 63-61 on Shawn Atupem's dropstep layup with 7 seconds left. The win wrapped up the third seed in the upcoming NEC Tournament - and possibly dropped the hated Colonials from the #1 seed. A Quinnipiac win over FDU and the Bobcats are the 1 seed. (QU has a nine-point lead with just under seven left). By virtue of the other results, the Mount will face St. Francis of PA at the Knott Arena on Thursday evening.
The Mount missed 31 of its first 37 shots - held only one lead 3-2 until the end - but exorcised a lot of demons in the unbelievable come-from-behind win at the ARCC. Atupem's field goal was his eighth of the game - and the junior from Virginia Beach never missed. That means the rest of his teammates shot 8-of-42 from the floor. Some of that credit would have to goto the Colonials - and their coaching staff. They were prepared for what the Mount would bring offensively - everything that is except for Atupem.
The junior had 23 points - as his quickness and athleticism battered the brawny Colonials inside.
Equally important to the Mount's comeback play was the consistent second half of senior Kelly Beidler. One game after becoming the 41st player in Mount history to reach the 1000-point club, Beidler scored some key points late including one big three-pointer that helped spark the Mount rally.
Also important was the foul shooting for the Mount. The Mounties, and we've complained about their struggles at the line this season, were a sparkling 27-of-35 from the charity stripe. Jeremy Goode led that effort making 7-of-7 including one that came on the end of a conventional three-point play that drew the Mount within three late. The field goal was Goode's only bucket of the afternoon - he finished 1-of-11 and backcourt mate Jean Cajou was 0-of-7 and somehow the Mount won the game.
20 years from now we'll tell our friends and family about this game - how the Mount rallied from down 30 - truly it was 14 at its largest number - to steal a victory from the arch-enemy. But with 12 minutes left they were down 12 - and it looked bleak. Somehow the Mount had rallied to cut a first half deficit to 6 at the intermission, but everytime the Mount seemed to make a push in the second half, the Colonials had an answer.
Still as we've found out about this team over the last several weeks - don't count them out. They do not quit.
So the regular season story has been told. 15-14 overall - 12-6 in the league - including ten in a row to end the season. And truly none of that matters when you play in one of the small Division I conferences. All of that begins on Thursday - when the Red Flash comes back to the ARCC. The Mount must put this emotional win in its back pocket and get back to work and ready for the NEC tournament. Today was a great story - but let's hope it was just the prelude to what is to come.
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