Men's Basketball: Mount St. Mary's falls short vs. Bryant

His heave at the buzzer looked like it might have a chance to be miraculous, to send Mount St. Mary's matchup with Bryant to a third overtime Saturday and salvage the remains of a 20-point second-half lead that had turned into a six-point overtime deficit.

But Junior Robinson was short. His three-quarter-court launch sailed harmlessly over the baseline, and in frustration he slapped the padding on top of the scorer's table on the sideline.


It was Robinson who drained back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second half, his high-arcing rainbows splashing through the net to put the Mount up 20 on Bryant, the Mountaineers poised to start 4-0 in Northeast Conference play for the first time in school history.

But the Bulldogs slowly pulled the Mountaineers back in over the course of the second half. And Robinson's prayer of a shot wouldn't be answered in the Mount's 82-79 double-overtime loss to Bryant.

"I thought they made good adjustments at halftime, the way they attacked us," said center Taylor Danaher, who finished with 19 points. "And I thought coming down, we didn't quite get the stops we needed to down the stretch."

The Mount (6-11, 3-1 NEC) took advantage of poor shooting by Bryant (6-11, 3-1) early on to jump out to a double-digit lead the Mountaineers held through much of the first half and deep into the second half. The Mountaineers shot better than 53 percent from the field before the break, including 5-for-11 on 3-pointers as the outside shooting coach Jamion Christian thought his squad was missing recently appeared to return.

After leading by as many as 17 in the first half, the Mount took a 34-20 lead into halftime, with Danaher scoring 10 points and guard BK Ashe and forward Will Miller adding nine each. Then Robinson got hot out of halftime, and the Mountaineers were cruising past the Bulldogs.

However, the Bryant offense hit its stride. Five Bulldogs finished in double figures, led by guard Shane McLaughlin's 21, and a sixth player had nine points.

"I felt like we had the energy we needed to come out to start the second half, and we just kind of let up instead of keep kicking them in the mouth like we wanted to," said Robinson, who finished with a team-high 20 points.

Bryant closed regulation on a 16-4 run capped by a layup by McLaughlin with 0.8 seconds left on the clock to tie the game at 60. The Mount's 20-point lead was part of the distant past, and the chance of continuing the undefeated conference start was evaporating.

Danaher, though, tried to stop the bleeding. He matched up well against the Bryant frontcourt, and he was able to take advantage of his one-on-one matchups in the post, making all nine of his field-goal attempts. But as the game wore on, he got into foul trouble. With the Mount nursing a 69-67 lead with 17 seconds left in the first overtime, Danaher picked up his fifth foul, forcing the 7-foot redshirt senior to the sideline.

With a sizable void on the court for the Mount, Bryant was able to take advantage in the paint with rebounds on both ends of the floor.

"It's always tough because being a competitor you want to be out there with your teammates," Danaher said. "You want to be there by their side. But at the same time I have a ton of faith in the guys behind me that if I can't go they'll step in and do their job well."

In the second overtime, Bryant jumped out to a six-point lead, but the Mount put together one last comeback attempt. Miller (15 points) hit a 3-pointer to pull his team to within 81-79 with 19 seconds left, and Ashe (14 points) stole the inbounds pass. But Ashe couldn't get a clean shot off, and the Mountaineers were forced to turn to desperation.

The Mount lost a game it had led for more than 40 minutes.

"Well, that's not exactly how you want to draw them up," Christian said.


The future doesn't look any more certain for the Mountaineers, who embark on a four-game road trip starting at Robert Morris on Thursday. They had the chance to move to 4-0 in the conference and assert themselves as the team to beat.

Now, the Mount is one of many in a mess of one-loss teams jockeying for position.

"The reality of it is you love your second girlfriend better when the first one broke your heart," Christian said. "So, it's good to kind of be heartbroken sometimes and to understand what the other half feels like, and now we can go back and watch some film, get better at it."