PURCHASE – Junior Paul Sienke converted a lay-up with 1:19 left in regulation to pull the Mount Saint Mary College Men’s Basketball team even with Manhattanville at 50-50, but a Tommy Lotito three-pointer with 15 seconds left sent the Valiants to a hard fought 53-50 victory over the Knights on Saturday. Senior Kendall Francis led the Mount with 12 points in the loss.
Mount Saint Mary raced out to a 9-3 lead on Saturday on the strength of a three-pointer from Francis and four points from fellow senior Tristan Millett. After Manhattanville answered with six straight points to even the score at 9-9, Nick Lucas buried a three-pointer to give the Mount a 12-9 advantage and start an 8-2 run that pushed the Knights in front 17-11. The Mount held Manhattanville without a field goal over the 4:03 scoring run and connected on half of its four three-point attempts.
The Knights maintained the advantage until Jake Dunn three-pointer rallied the Valiants to an 18-17 advantage with 6:43 left before halftime. The triple was part of a 10-0 run for Manhttanville covering just over three minutes that saw them take a 21-17 advantage.
The Knights pulled to within two points twice following the Valiants’ spurt, but saw Manhattanville carry a 30-24 advantage into the intermission following a JoJo Cobbs jumper with 16 seconds left in the opening stanza.
Mount Saint Mary was limited to 30-percent shooting before the break and knocked in four of its 12 three-point attempts in the opening half. Manhattanville converted at just under 43-percent in the opening 20 minutes, hitting on five triples and outscoring the Mount by five from the free-throw line.
The Valiants built their advantage to double-figures early in the second half on a Khari Taylor bucket in the opening 90 seconds of the second half and grabbed their largest lead of the game when a Taylor lay-in pushed them in front 36-24 with 18:04 left in regulation.
Mount Saint Mary answered with seven straight points capped by an Ethan Fox three-pointer that pulled the Knights to within 36-31, but the Mount would not be able to pull closer than five points until a Francis conversion at the 8:58 mark of the second half got it to within 43-39.
Manhattanville quickly pushed its lead back to nine points on a Mike Granda three-pointer with 6:52 left and the Valiants remained in front until Sienke got the Knights even at 50-50 with 1:19 left in regulation time.
The Sienke conversion proved to be the Mount’s final field goal of the day as the Mount was turned over twice in the final 41 seconds. After gaining possession with 41 seconds left, Lotito buried his second triple of the game with 15 seconds left for what proved to be the game winner. A JoJo Cobbs steal in the closing seconds sealed the win for the Valiants by the final three-point advantage.
Mount Saint Mary improved to 45-percent shooting in the second half, while the Valiants dipped to 36-percent shooting after halftime. The Knights hit on just one second half three-pointer with Manhattanville converting twice from bonus distance.
Francis was the lone Knight to score in double-figures on the day, going 4-for-17 from the field with a three-pointer. He added three rebounds, two assists and a team-high two steals for the Knights.
Fox led the Mount with seven rebounds in the game and chipped in seven points to go along with a pair of blocked shots. Millett paced the team with three assists and scored eight points, with Jameson Morton chipping in six points.
Manhattanville got a game-high 13 points from both Granda and Taylor with Granda knocking in a trio of three-pointers, while Taylor led all players with nine rebounds. Cobbs rounded out the day with seven points, three assists, three steals and a pair of blocks for the Valiants.
Mount Saint Mary concluded the afternoon shooting 36-percent overall and 26.3-percent from three-point range. Manhattanville shot 39.1-percent overall on the day and hit on two more three-pointers than the Mount.