Mt. St. Mary's hosts Navy tonight at the ARCC. The Mount looks to build on an 11-game home winning streak. Navy enters the game at 2-6, having dropped an overtime game to Maryland Eastern Shore over the weekend. The Mount is 2-3 and comes in off a win over Florida A&M.
The Mount made a change to its starting lineup during the win over the Rattlers and started three freshman guards in the backcourt. Josh Castellanos replaced Lamar Trice at the point guard slot on Saturday, but Trice responded with a 14 point 6 assist in 33 minutes off the bench. The six assists makes Trice the team leader in that category as he passed Castellanos with that effort.
The Mountaineers have become balanced offensively. Three Mounties average in double figures with senior Shawn Atupem leading the way. Atupem averages 13.4 points per game. Freshman Julian Norfleet (11.8) and Trice (11.0) also are in double figures. Sophomore forward Raven Barber has been in double figures the last two games and averages 9.6 per contest. His play recently has been a major positive.
The Mount did establish the inside game against the Rattlers and I would expect to see more of the same tonight. The Mount shot 15-of-25 in the second half, and 15-of-22 from inside the arc during that half. However, Navy center Mark Veazey may provide some stability defensively for the Midshipmen with his height inside.
Early in the season Navy struggled offensively but has scored 80+ points each of the last two games. But the Mount defense which has been solid all year should have enough to contain Navy.
The Mount has won two of the last three with the Midshipmen, but Navy did win during its last trip to Emmitsburg.
The students are back on campus, I would expect a decent crowd against a solid name opponent on a Monday night. The Mount has to be a clear favorite in this one and ultimately I like the Mounties to pull out the win 71-62.