St. Francis drops Mount, catches up with UMBC; 83-70 win pushes Terriers into first-place tie in NEC


EMMITSBURG -- The Northeast Conference regular-season title will now be determined at the proper place -- on the basketball court.

Surging St. Francis, N.Y., assured that at Knott Arena last night, pulling away from Mount St. Mary's in the final five minutes for an 83-70 victory that moved the Terriers into a first-place tie with UMBC.

Earlier in the evening, UMBC had been edged at home by Long Island, 60-59, to set up the showdown tomorrow afternoon at the UMBC Fieldhouse. Both teams are 16-3 in the NEC.

St. Francis (19-6 overall) learned of the help it received from its fellow New York team shortly after Jerry Lloyd made two free throws to cut the Mount's deficit to 64-63 with 5: 33 left in the game.

"They were telling me during our last time out that LIU won," said Terriers coach Ron Ganulin, an LIU graduate. "But that really doesn't matter to us. We still have to go down there and win. But the excitement of having that chance has added to it."

St. Francis' big name, guard Ray Minlend, did not start against the Mount because of "internal reasons," according to Ganulin. But Minlend obviously didn't mind coming off the bench.

The native of Cameroon entered with eight minutes left in the first half and went on to a 31-point game, including 23 after the break. He also knocked home the biggest shot of the night -- a three-pointer with the shot clock expiring that restored the Terriers to a four-point advantage.

After that connection, Mount St. Mary's (12-13, 10-9) was out of sync offensively, tossing up futile-looking three-point tries and failing to get the ball to Melvin Whitaker (season-high 23 points), the object of a triple team.

"We got within one and did absolutely nothing after that," said Mount coach Jim Phelan. "I thought we were going right on by them and then we had a series of terrible shots that didn't come close to anything. All of a sudden we're six, eight more points down and looking for a heart and soul.

"We've turned into a disaster at home. Tonight was one of our poorest efforts of the year, particularly after we almost caught them."

Minlend, second in the national scoring race entering the game, set a St. Francis single-season record of 620 points, eclipsing Ken Lam's 605 in 1971.

But, more importantly to Ganulin, the Terriers have an opportunity to win 20 games for the first time since the 1956 team finished 21-4 and advanced to the National Invitation Tournament final.

"The chance to get 20 is really exciting," said Ganulin, whose 1994 team was 1-26.

ST. FRANCIS (N.Y.) -- Santana 7-14 2-2 19, Dominguez 1-6 0-2 3, Reyes 3-3 2-2 8, Nunn 0-3 0-1 0, Rail 0-1 0-0 0, Walker 1-1 0-0 2, Tein 0-4 0-0 0, Abel 3-3 0-0 6, Minlend 8-12 13-15 31, Rogers 2-3 3-4 7, LaLane 3-6 1-2 7, Dimberg 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-56 21-28 83.

MOUNT ST. MARY'S -- Balgac 4-12 1-2 10, Hayden 2-7 1-1 5, Whitaker 7-14 9-11 23, Harris 2-14 5-8 9, Herbert 3-4 0-0 7, Bethel 1-3 1-2 3, Lloyd 1-4 2-2 5, Wilson 1-6 0-0 2, Kessler 2-2 0-0 4, Springer 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 24-67 19-26 70.

Halftime--St. Francis, 43-34. 3-point goals--SF 6-18 (Santana 3-6, Dominguez 1-3, Nunn 0-1, Tein 0-3, Minlend 2-4, LaLane 0-1); MSM 3-15 (Balgac 1-3, Hayden 0-1, Harris 0-5, Herbert 1-1, Lloyd 1-4, Wilson 0-1). Fouled out--Reyes, Wilson. Rebounds--SF 40 (Santana, Nunn 8); MSM 39 (Whitaker 8). Assists--SF 17 (Minlend 5); MSM 12 (Balgac, Hayden, Harris, Herbert, Bethel, Lloyd 2). Total fouls--SF 20; MSM 20. A--1,565.

Pub Date: 2/19/99

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