Mount St. Mary’s is in the midst of a five-game road swing, which has highlighted the importance of the Mountaineers earning as many home games as possible in the Northeast Conference tournament.
“I think we’re right on time to make a good push,” said coach Jamion Christian, whose team plays at Central Connecticut State on Thursday night. “Right now, we’re tied for fourth in our league. If the season ended today, we would have one home game. We’re still striving to get to the number two spot which would give us two home games in a row, which would be huge for our program.”
The Mountaineers (10-14) have gone 3-12 on the road this season, but their record is misleading. Of their eight non-conference road losses, six came against high-major teams: West Virginia, Villanova, Brigham Young, Michigan State, Penn State and Texas Tech.
“I think it is really important, especially early in the year, to challenge your team,” Christian said. “To put yourself and your team in difficult environments to get the opportunity to see how good we can be on the road.”
In an attempt to gauge a true sense of his team’s performance, Christian puts more stock in their performance against schools at their own level, which has been markedly better.
Recently, the Mountaineers have dropped two straight close games at first-place Robert Morris and second-place Bryant.
“We have played pretty well on the road against some good teams, so I just think we have to continue to do that,” Christian said.
After playing at Wagner on Saturday, the Mountaineers finish the regular season with three straight home games — including Monday at Bryant, a game that was postponed last week because of weather.
“The biggest thing I am preaching to them is how close we are. We are right there. We played well against some of the best teams in the league and we didn’t get it done, but we’re right there to do it. And the next time we have our opportunity, we’re going to be ready.”