PATCHOGUE – The Mount Saint Mary College Men’s Basketball team placed four players in double-figures and withstood a second half charge from St. Joseph’s-L.I. in a 71-59 road win on Saturday afternoon. Ethan Fox and Kendall Francis led the scoring for the Knights with 16 points apiece.
The Knights got off to a strong start on Saturday, racing out to an 11-0 lead in the opening 5:52 of the contest. Francis and Jameson Morton sparked the run for the Knights with three-pointers.
Mount Saint Mary held St. Joseph’s off the board until the 16:34 mark of the opening period and did not allow a field goal until a Frank Basile lay-in with 14:24 left before halftime.
Following the Basile conversion, the Mount used a 14-1 run to balloon its lead to a game-high 27 points on a pair of Fox free-throws that put the Mount in front 32-5 with just under nine minutes left in the half.
The Golden Eagles’ second field goal did not come until a Basile triple with 8:36 left in the half that stopped the Mount’s run, but the Knights moved their lead back to 25 twice in the final 5:20 of the half. A Francis jumper at the 5:20 mark gave the Mount a 38-13 advantage and two Paul Sienke free-throws with 3:58 left before halftime gave the Mount a 40-15 lead.
Mount Saint Mary managed just one more field goal after the Francis jumper with 5:20 left and a Sienke conversion in the final minute of the first half stopped a 10-0 run for the Golden Eagles and got the Mount into the intermission with a comfortable 42-25 advantage.
The Mount shot a blistering 60-percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes and knocked in four triples to go along with an 8-for-10 effort from the free-throw line. St. Joseph’s was held to 26.5-percent shooting overall and a 4-for-17 effort from three-point range. Francis led all scorers in the first half with 10 points.
The Golden Eagles continued their closing run in the first half in the early stages of the second half, slicing their disadvantage to just eight points on a Matthew Hirdt triple with 16:32 remaining in the second stanza.
The Knights built their lead back to 11 on a three-point play from Francis and maintained at least an eight-point lead until a quick 6-0 spurt from St. Joseph’s got them to within 50-47. Following layups from Francis and Chris Yearwood moved the Mount back in front 54-47, St. Joseph’s used another 6-0 spurt to close to within 54-53 on a Basile free-throw with 9:41 left to play.
The Mount would never let St. Joseph’s pull even and used a five-point spurt capped by a Sienke conversion to move the Knights in front 59-53 with 7:24 remaining. The Mount’s advantage grew back to double-figures with 3:13 left on a Sienke free-throw and reached the final 12 point difference on a Fox conversion from the line with 1:27 left.
Mount Saint Mary cooled to 35.7-percent shooting in the second half and went 1-for-4 from three-point range and 8-for-18 from the free-throw line after halftime. St. Joseph’s outscored the Mount by four from the stripe after halftime, but shot only 32.1-percent after halftime and finished the second half 4-for-13 from three-point range.
Fox matched Francis with 16 points and also equaled the team-high with seven rebounds on the day. Fox rounded out the win 5-for-9 from the floor and 6-for-8 from the free-throw line, adding a trio of blocked shots. Francis finished the day 5-for-14 from the floor to go along with a game-high six assists.
Sienke continued his steady play with 15 points for the Mount on 5-for-6 shooting, chipping in five rebounds, a block and a pair of steals. Morton rounded out the quartet in double-figures with 11 points, joining Fox with seven rebounds.
Basile, the conference’s leading scorer, poured in 27 points for the Golden Eagles, adding nine rebounds and three helpers. Doug Niblock contributed nine points and Cristian Pace contributed eight for the Golden Eagles.
Mount Saint Mary finished the day shooting 47.2-percent from the floor and 35.7-percent from three-point range. The Golden Eagles were held to 29.0-percen shooting overall and an 8-for-30 showing from three-point range. The Knights closed the day with a 32-18 advantage in paint points and an 18-12 edge in points off of turnovers.
Saturday’s win pushes Mount Saint Mary to 6-13 overall on the season and to 4-6 in Skyline Conference play. Next up for the Knights is a home date with #24 Yeshiva on Wednesday night. Tip-off at the Kaplan Center is set for 8:00 p.m.