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Men's Basketball: Jefferson notches double-double in MSM loss to Saint Francis U

Men's Basketball: Jefferson notches double-double in MSM loss to Saint Francis U
MSM logo (Courtesy photo)

Malik Jefferson posted his third double-double of the season, but Mount St. Mary's fell to Saint Francis U 72-63 at Knott Arena on Saturday afternoon.

Jefferson paced the Mount with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

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Mount St. Mary's (5-18, 2-8 Northeast Conference) started the game strong, taking a 19-10 lead. Jefferson opened the scoring with a bucket in the paint, and Omar Habwe added a 3-pointer to give the Mount a 5-0 lead.

After Saint Francis U (10-11, 6-4) cut the deficit to 11-8 on an Isaiah Blackmon traditional three-point play, the Mount went on an 8-2 run to take its biggest lead of the game at 19-10 with 11:22 left in the first half. Collin Nnamene scored back-to-back buckets to start the run that was capped by a Jefferson layup and a pair of Vado Morse free throws.

The Red Flash responded by outscoring the Mount 29-10 over the next nine minutes to take a 39-29 advantage. Saint Francis took its first lead of the game, 23-21, on a Jamaal King layup with 6:49 left in the half.

Habwe scored in the paint for the Mount to cut the Red Flash lead to 32-29, but Saint Francis scored the next seven points to push the advantage to double figures. Andre Wolford hit a 3, Keight Braxton a jumper, and King a jumper to make it 39-29.

The Mount scored the next five points, and a Jefferson basket with four seconds left in the half trimmed the Saint Francis lead to 41-37 at the half.

The Mount held a 55-52 lead after a Morse jumper with 8:46 remaining in the game, but the Red Flash scored the next nine points, six at the free-throw line, and a 3-pointer from Wolford, to make it 61-55.

Morse converted on a drive on the next possession to make it a four-point game, but Saint Francis was able to hold on down the stretch for the win.

Jefferson hit 9-of-11 from the field en route to his second 20-point game of the season while posting his third career double-double. Habwe chipped in 10 points while Morse finished with 10 and a career-best seven assists.

Freshman forward Nana Opoku blocked a career-high nine shots to pace the Mount defense. The nine blocks are the third-most in a game in Mount history, and the most since Gerben Van Dorpe had 10 blocks at Rider on Jan. 11, 1996.

The school record is 11 blocks set by Randy Edney on Jan. 15, 1994, against LIU Brooklyn.

Braxton led Saint Francis U with 27 points and 10 rebounds while Blackmon (12), King (11) and Randall Gaskins, Jr. (10) also reached double figures in scoring.

Mount St. Mary's is back in action Feb. 7, with a 7 p.m. matchup against LIU Brooklyn at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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