State hoops: Mount St. Mary's men advance to NEC tournament championship

Mount St. Mary's defeated second-seeded Wagner, 77-72, in the Northeast Conference tournament semifinals at the Spiro Sports Center on Saturday. Rashad Whack led the Mountaineers with 21 points.

The Mount used an 8-0 run to close the first half to take a 35-31 lead.

Mount St. Mary's (15-16) led the entire second half but had to hold off Wagner (19-12) several times.

The Mountaineers advance to the NEC championship game for the second consecutive season Tuesday night.

They'll take on top-seeded Robert Morris on the road in Moon Township, Pa., at 7 p.m. This will be the Mount's fourth title game appearance over the past seven seasons.

Sam Prescott converted a drive with 1:50 left in the game for a 71-66 Mount advantage. But Wagner's Kenneth Ortiz answered with a layup and a pair of free throws to cut the margin to 71-70 with 1:04 left.

Prescott was then fouled with 46.4 seconds left, and he hit both free throws to push the lead back to three. Marcus Burton missed a 3-pointer, and Whack gathered the rebound and was fouled with 25 seconds left. Whack, however, missed the front end of the one-and-one, and Wagner had another chance to tie, but Ortiz was off the mark on a 3-pointer, and Whack again collected the rebound.

This time, Whack made both free throws to make it 75-70 with 11 seconds left. Ortiz drove the length of the court to cut the score to 75-72, and the Seahawks fouled Whack on the inbounds. He again made both free throws with six seconds left to seal the win.

Whack added five rebounds and a pair of steals to his 21 points. Julian Norfleet had 16 points and seven assists while Prescott finished with 16 points in the victory. Gregory Graves had a solid contribution off the bench with 12 points and seven boards.

Ortiz led all scorers with 26 points; Burton added 13. Whack did a nice job defensively on Wagner's leading scorer, Latif Rivers, holding him to seven points on 2-for-14 shooting.

Mount St. Mary's shot 50 percent from the field in the game and held a 34-33 edge on the boards. Wagner shot 42.6 percent in the loss.

In the 8-0 run to close the first half, Whack started the streak with a drive to the hoop, converting the bucket as he was fouled. Whack missed the free throw, but after a Wagner miss, Gregory Graves was fouled on a rebound and hit both foul shots for a 31-all score.

The Mountaineers got a stop on the other end, and Bryon Ashe was fouled with 4.6 seconds left in the half. Ashe hit both free throws, and Prescott stole the inbounds pass, and made a jumper to lift the Mount to the 35-31 advantage at the break.

Albany 86, UMBC 56: Retrievers guards Quentin Jones (Mount St. Joseph) and Rodney Elliott (John Carroll) each scored 18 points, but visiting UMBC fell to the fourth-seeded Great Danes in an America East Conference quarterfinal.

Jones, a senior, set a career high with his 18-point effort, hitting four of seven from behind the arc in his final appearance with the Retrievers. Elliott's 18 points gave him 451 this season, as the America East Rookie of the Year set a UMBC Division I freshman season scoring record. But Albany (16-14) hit 32-for-57 from the field, compared with the Retrievers' 20-for-54, and 11-for-20 from 3-point range.

Great Danes guard Peter Hooley led all scorers with 30 points. UMBC (9-21) had some good looks early in the game from the paint but could not convert, missing 15 of its first 17 attempts.

Leading 10-5 with 16:44 left in the first half, the Danes went on a 12-0 run to take control at 22-5 at the midpoint of the half.

UMBC improved in the second half, making 14 of 25 shots, but it trailed 60-38 with 11:58 to play before Albany went on a 16-5 surge to lead 76-43 with 6:10 remaining.

Elliott added six assists and two steals for the Retrievers, while Will Darley scored eight points and garnered a season-best and team-high seven rebounds.

Hood 103, Waynesburg 75: Five Blazers players scored in double digits as Hood (18-10) built on a 45-37 halftime advantage to lead the Yellow Jackets (15-13) by as many as 98-68 with 3:30 left in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Southwest semifinal.

The Blazers' Cameron Cook (Calvert Hall) had a game-high 18 points and five rebounds. Hood shot 37-for-74 from the field and held Waynesburg to 29-for-72 shooting.


McDaniel 77, St. Vincent 70: Karli Zeps (Seton Keough) had a game-high 27 points to lead the Green Terror (21-6) past the Bearcats (19-10) in an ECAC South semifinal at Catholic.

McDaniel advances to today's championship at 2 p.m. at Catholic.

Elle Collins led St. Vincent with 17 points. The game was tied at 13 with 12:02 left in the first half and Steph Perez hit a 3-pointer with 11:22 left to give McDaniel the lead. The Green Terror ended the first half with a 34-26 advantage.

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