For the second time in four days, No. 5 Mount St. Joseph lost, this time to No. 13 St. Frances, 67-55, in a Catholic League game last night at the University of Baltimore.
Senior center Devin Gray led St. Frances with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Eric Carroll added 18 points and 10 rebounds. Michael Smith and Antwan Wingo had 15 and 11, respectively.
It was second meeting between the league's top two clubs. Mount St. Joseph (15-7, 7-1) edged the Panthers (12-5, 7-2) in their first matchup.
But last night, the Gaels were without starters Patrick Young and Ryan Clark, out with injuries suffered in Tuesday's 68-62 loss to Walbrook.
St. Frances coach William Wells started with a triangle-and-two defense, designed to stop Darrin Jones and Ronald Issacs. Jones finished with a game-high 29 points, but was shut down for the first three quarters. Isaacs had eight points.
"We wanted to stay in a triangle-and-two for as long as we could," said Wells. "We wanted to force them to beat from the paint, not behind the three-point circle."
The strategy worked, as the Gaels hit 20 of 75 from the field and turned the ball over 23 times.
"Their defense can give players problems if they can't hit the shot, and we didn't," said Pat Maggio. "Without the two starters, we knew it would be difficult."
Mount St. Joseph hit four of its first 17 shots, and St. Frances led, 16-8, after one period, behind seven points from Gray.
Using a 9-4 run, the Panthers opened their biggest margin of the half, 25-12, with 3 minutes, 59 seconds remaining. St. Frances led at the half, 30-19, even though it missed 15 of 20 from the field.
The Gaels opened the second half with an 8-4 run to close to within 34-27 with 4:22 remaining in the third quarter, but St. Frances got baskets from Carroll and Wingo for a 40-27 lead.