EMMITSBURG -- Sometimes a team can get away with poor marksmanship and still win.
Mount St. Mary's caught that break last night at Knott Arena and defeated Marist, 73-62, to remain unbeaten in the early stage of the Northeast Conference basketball season.
Despite shooting a putrid 25.7 percent in the first half, the Mountaineers captured an 11-point lead at the break and Marist spent the rest of the game vainly playing catch-up.
"I've been involved in some ugly games in 41 years, but that first half was one of the ugliest," said Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan.
"Dave [Magarity, Marist coach] and I got caught up in a game that had no precision to it, no finesse. We were blessed to get away with a win on an effort like that, and I'm sure Marist feels they've got a great shot at beating us at their place off an effort like that."
Mount St. Mary's (4-6, 2-0) made only nine of 35 first-half attempts, yet had command of the scoreboard the entire half, spurting to a 31-20 edge when point guard Riley Inge went inside and scored just before the buzzer.
The posting-up of Inge against smaller or slower rivals was a key factor for Mount St. Mary's.
Inge scored 23 points, hitting 10 of 12 from the floor, and was the most consistent Mountaineer on offense.
Although Chris McGuthrie outscored him, 25-23, McGuthrie had his own troubles with field-goal accuracy (6-for-17), accumulating almost half his total with an 11-for-11 performance at the foul line.
"They just decided to call my number," said Inge. "We've been working on that post play, taking advantage of it at certain times.
"A lot of times other people have trouble matching up because I'm tall (6 feet 4) for my position against the guards and I'm able to get around most of the forwards."
Magarity said he likes to put a "No. 3 man [small forward] on Inge because of his size, but he's a tough matchup for us and he is solid on those little mid-point jumpers from 8 to 10 feet."
Michael Watson also played a key role for Mount St. Mary's, which survived the Red Foxes' best challenge early in the second half and was never in serious jeopardy down the stretch.
Watson came off the bench with 12 points, eight rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot in 23 minutes.
"He kills us every time we play them," Magarity said. "Some of the best games of his career are against us. He has made a living playing Marist."
Marist (3-5, 0-1) came into the game struggling after a heartbreaking 68-65 loss to Army, its fourth in five games. The Red Foxes, whose big man, Alan Tomidy, was in foul trouble early, are 0-5 on the road.