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Mount St. Mary’s Chong Qui, Opoku earn Northeast Conference men’s basketball honors

Mount St. Mary’s junior guard Damian Chong Qui earned First Team All-Northeast Conference honors while redshirt junior forward Nana Opoku has been named NEC Defensive Player of the Year.

Chong Qui, the NEC’s Most Improved Player and a Third Team All-Conference selection last year, is averaging 14.9 points and an NEC-best 5.5 assists per game this year. He improved those numbers to 15.8 points and 5.9 assists in the Mount’s 16 NEC regular-season contests. Chong Qui has been solid in crunch time for the Mount, knocking down game-tying or go-ahead shots in the final minute four times this season.

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Chong Qui has scored in double figures in 17 of the Mount’s 21 games, including a career-high 30-point effort at Central Connecticut. He’s shooting 34.4% (32-for-93) from 3-point range and 81.2% (82-for-101) at the free-throw line. Chong Qui is the seventh Mount player to earn First Team All-NEC honors since the school joined the league in 1989-90.

The list includes MSM guards Chris McGuthrie (1995 and 1996), Riley Inge (1996), Gregory Harris (1999), Jeremy Goode (2009 and 2010), Elijah Long (2017) and Junior Robinson (2018).

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Mount St. Mary's Damian Chong Qui, right, tries to elude defensive pressure from Sacred Heart's Quest Harris during a mens basketball game at Mount St. Mary's Knott Arena on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021.
Mount St. Mary's Damian Chong Qui, right, tries to elude defensive pressure from Sacred Heart's Quest Harris during a mens basketball game at Mount St. Mary's Knott Arena on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

Opoku becomes the third Mountaineer to win Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors, joining Chris Wray (2018) and Mychal Kearse (2006 and 2007). Opoku averaged 1.9 blocks during the regular season, including a league-best 2.1 in NEC games.

Opoku has become a key cog in the Mount’s offense as well, averaging 12.6 points over the past eight games and shooting 58.9% (46-for-78) over that stretch. He has reached double figures in each of the past eight games, and in 13 of the Mount’s 21 games this year. For the season, Opoku is averaging 9.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while shooting 48.7% from the field.

Mount St. Mary’s heads to Bryant to face the Bulldogs in the Northeast Conference tournament championship game March 9. The game tips off at 7 and can be seen on ESPN2.

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