Men's Basketball: Ashe, Mount St. Mary's take Clash

Men's Basketball: Ashe, Mount St. Mary's take Clash
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Consider this scouting report on Mount St. Mary's men's basketball team from Loyola coach G.G. Smith, whose Greyhounds visited Knott Arena on Saturday for the 171st edition of the Catholic Clash.

"They're a team that plays with a lot of runs and a lot of momentum," Smith said. "They make that big play, that big steal and the big 3. That's just how they play. That's what they want you to do. They want you to be off-balance. They want you thinking too much."


Smith's assessment was spot on — Mount St. Mary's overwhelmed Loyola with pressure and put together enough scoring spurts to keep the 'Hounds at bay in an 85-68 victory.

The Mountaineers (2-6) took control by scoring 30 points off 26 Loyola turnovers, the most they've forced since March 4, 2010. Junior guard BK Ashe led MSM with 22 points while senior forward Gregory Graves had season highs of 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Defense keyed a crucial part of the game midway through the first half, and like Smith said in his review, the Mount thrived.

The Mountaineers forced three turnovers in a span of 35 seconds and sophomore guard Junior Robinson drained a 3-pointer with 11:45 remaining that gave MSM a 15-6 lead. Robinson's triple came after Chris Wray grabbed a steal and fed his teammate for the long-range shot.

Robinson canned another 3 with 10:17 left in the half, and Graves pulled off a slam dunk with 7:37 to go that gave the Mount a 25-15 edge. Loyola responded and trailed 38-31 after a 3-pointer from Eric Laster, but the Mountaineers struck again.

Charles Glover hit two of three free throws on the next possession. Loyola turned the ball over after that, and Robinson sank a 3 while being fouled with 1:17 left. He swished the free throw, and after a Greyhounds miss at the other end Ashe juked his defender near the top of the arc and nailed a 3-pointer of his own.

His smirk and pose for the crowd said plenty about Mount St. Mary's swagger.

"My confidence is always there," said Ashe, who went 6-for-13 from the field and made four of five from 3-point range. "I feel like every shot I shoot is going in, no matter what."

It had to feel that way for the Greyhounds, too.

"I'm just excited we won this game," Ashe said.

Added Graves, who improved to 3-1 in his career against the 'Hounds: "This is just a great win for our program. It just shows how much we're growing."

Loyola trailed by as many as 24 in the second half before making a run of its own. The Greyhounds cut MSM's lead to 69-60 with about five minutes to play, but the Mountaineers answered in time.

Loyola's Jarred Jones missed a 3 at the top of the circle with 3:52 to play, down 72-62. Graves hauled in the rebound, started the Mount's trip the other way, and asked for the ball in the corner as the shot clock neared zero.

Grave swished a 3 from the right corner, and the rout was back on.


Laster led Loyola with 17 points and four players scored in double figures, but the Greyhounds did themselves in with turnovers and poor 3-point shooting (2-for-17).

"We knew they were a team that's going to really pressure," Smith said. "We just didn't take care of the ball in the first half. We didn't execute. We've just got to make decisions with the ball."

Ashe added seven rebounds and Wray grabbed four steals for MSM, which has won two straight after starting the season 0-6. Four of those losses came against Maryland, Ohio State, Washington and Gonzaga — top-flight Division I teams with national rankings and NCAA tournament hopes.

Ashe said the Mountaineers don't care about wins and losses at this stage of the season, only improvement. MSM coach Jamion Christian said he sees it, and it's coming at the right time.

"Just extremely excited for our team today," Christian said. "From a coaching standpoint, this is like the perfect game, because you play well in a half and you can learn some lessons in the second half without losing the basketball game."