Men's Basketball: Mount pulls away from RMU, secures home playoff game

Jamion Christian said Thursday’s win over Robert Morris, his 100th career win as Mount St. Mary’s coach, didn’t feel much different than any of the others.

That might not be totally true, given the circumstances that led to the victory.


Junior Robinson, the Northeast Conference’s leading scorer and one of the top offensive players in the country, didn’t net a point for more than 30 minutes. Starters Donald Carey and Chris Wray missed most of the first half in foul trouble.

And the Mount struggled to take control of the game in the early going, with Robert Morris trying to escape with a win that could muddle MSM’s playoff plans.

But the Mountaineers rallied, leaned on a solid defense performance, and came away with a 72-53 victory at Knott Arena to secure at least one home game in the upcoming NEC tournament.

“Our defensive rotations were spectacular tonight,” Christian said. “That’s the sign of a mature team.”

Wray and Robinson finished the game strong — the senior forward had 16 points, a team high, and the senior guard scored 11 in the final 9-plus minutes. The Mount (17-13, 11-6 NEC) had it share of contributors when the team needed them the most.

Mount St. Mary's Omar Habwe dunks in front of Robert Morris' Chris Coalmon during the first half of their game in Emmitsburg Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.
Mount St. Mary's Omar Habwe dunks in front of Robert Morris' Chris Coalmon during the first half of their game in Emmitsburg Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO)

Jonah Antonio, a freshman guard, collected 11 points, three blocks, and two rebounds, and seemed to fill in for Robinson in the early portion of the first half.

Omar Habwe came off the bench when Wray got caught with some fouls, and the freshman forward had eight points and six rebounds in 14 minutes.

Christian even went to Brandon Leftwich, a freshman guard averaging 1.2 minutes per game this season, during a critical possession late in the first half.

And everyone pitched in.

“Those are my guys,” said Robinson, who broke his scoreless run with a layup at the 9:06 mark of the second half. “At the end of the day, they’re going to have my back. I’m going to have their back. They just kept telling me to keep playing, even though I got frustrated with myself.”

The Mount went scoreless for a four-minute span midway through the first half, and Robert Morris (15-15, 9-8) grabbed its first lead in the process.

Chris Coalmon’s baseline jumper tied the score at 17-17 before Greg Alexander ended the Mountaineers’ drought with a free throw on the next possession.

RMU’s Koby Thomas completed a three-point play at the other end, with 5:43 to play, giving the Colonials a 20-18 edge.

Mount St. Mary’s found its energy after that — the home team closed the half on a 16-4 run. Leftwich gave Robinson a break and took command of the offense for one possession.


It worked — Leftwich drove the lane and converted a layup while drawing contact. His free throw gave MSM a 21-20 lead and recharged the fans.

Habwe, another reserve, came in and ignited the Mount’s offense. He sank three free throws before soaring in from the baseline for a two-handed jam with 2:07 to go.

Alexander added a layup and a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, and the Mountaineers led 34-22 with less than a minute to go.

Burke scored from close range to quiet the Mount’s run, but the home team had the momentum at the break.

The Mountaineers led by as many as 20 points late in the second half and were never really threatened after halftime. Robinson found some offense, and he also dished out eight assists — one in the final minutes on a nifty alley-oop dunk finished by Wray.

Burke led the Colonials with 16 points and Matty McConnell scored 14 thanks to four 3-pointers. But Robert Morris missed 13 of its 20 3-point shots, while the Mount converted 9 of 21.