EMMITSBURG -- On a night in the mountains not fit for man or beast, Marist turned loose a thoroughbred at Mount St. Mary's.
And when forward Izett Buchanan stopped running, he had 43 points, two shy of the school record, and the Red Foxes had a 96-84 Northeast Conference victory that ended their five-game losing streak.
"I was just trying to beat people down the floor," said Buchanan, who went 10-for-10 from the field in the second half. "Dexter [point guard Dexter Dunbar] gave me some great passes. It doesn't get much easier than that."
Marist's speed in transition was too much for the Mountaineers (6-18, 3-10), who never led after the opening minutes and fell behind by as much as 38-18 in the first half.
They never chopped the gap to fewer than seven the rest of the way and maintained their last-place status in the conference.
"As good an effort as we had against Monmouth [a 58-57 upset last Saturday], this one was just as bad," said coach Jim Phelan. "We had trouble getting back-to-back baskets and they kept beating us down the floor."
The win helped the Red Foxes (8-15, 6-6) make up for some tough luck against conference foes during their five-game road trip. They had lost twice to Fairleigh Dickinson by a point, once in overtime, and by four to Robert Morris on the trip.
"We seem to thrive in the type of game played tonight," said Marist coach Dave Magarity. "But I was scared to death at halftime because [Kevin] Booth and [Phil] Galvin had zero three-pointers for them. They were due."
Galvin never did warm up while Booth packed 20 points into the second half, including four baskets from three-point range. It didn't matter because the Mountaineers never solved their defensive woes.
"The only teams we stay with are the ones that don't run," said Phelan. "Those kind really don't bother us. This was just a poor defensive effort. No intensity."
Rik Smits, now with the Indiana Pacers, owns the Marist record with 45 points against St. Francis (Pa.) in 1988. Buchanan was threatening that when he was pulled with the rest of the starters in the final minute.
He also was one point short of the Knott Arena record set by Towson State's Kurk Lee in the Beltway Classic of December 1989.
"I've had a few games like this in high school," said Buchanan, a sophomore swingman who went to Goshen (N.Y.) High. "I had 63 points once. But I don't know if I got this many layups."
His previous college high was 36 points against Long Island University this season.
"Well, this certainly wasn't a defensive struggle, but it was a make-or-break game for us," said Magarity. "We've played well on this trip, only to come up short."
"I think we believed we were going to win easily," Phelan said. "We led this team up there into the second half. But we were a stop behind the whole night."
Mount St. Mary's has lost five of its past six and and is danger of not playing an NEC tournament game at home (if it finishes last in the nine-team league).