Mount Saint Mary’s Advances Past Saint Francis Brooklyn in NEC Quarterfinals on Record-Setting Night for Multiple Mountaineers
By: Ethan Hennessy
On Wednesday night at Knott Arena Mount Saint Mary’s jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead forcing Glenn Braica to call a timeout. By the time the under 12 media timeout rolled around Mount Saint Mary’s still held the lead 19-14, but Saint Francis was getting good looks thanks to high ball screens from their centers. The Mount was doing a good job getting to the line going 6-7 on free throws compared to Saint Francis’ 1-1 at the under 8 media timeout. When Mount Saint Mary’s was able to extend the lead to 10 around four minutes Knott Arena roared to life with the sounds of a defense chant.
Malik Jefferson right before halftime set a new program record for career rebounds for Mount Saint Mary’s with 747. The Mountaineers took a 39-30 lead into the break thanks to a 51% shooting effort and limiting Saint Francis to a lot of iso ball as the terriers only recorded three assists.
In the second half, Saint Francis struggled from three and as a result could not get within striking distance. The Mountaineers extended their lead to 18 by the under-eight timeout came around. Nana Opoku also scored his 1,000th career point in the second half, and at the 6:20 mark had an incredible one-handed uncontested dunk.
Jalen Benjamin wanted in on the record-setting night for mountaineer players as he recorded his 1000th career point right after Nana Opoku scored his.
Mount Saint Mary’s ended up winning by a score of 78-45. Mount Saint Mary coach Dan Engelstad picked up his 150th career win.
After the game, both coaches spoke with the media. Dan Engelstad of Mount Saint Mary’s said “Today was another complete effort… for us to hold them to 18 points in the second half speaks volumes for our guys”. Malik Jefferson who claimed the Mount Saint Mary’s all-time division one rebounding record said “It’s a great feeling to add to your resume, but I also feel good for my guys.. and I’m happy we had such a good crowd”.
For Saint Francis Brooklyn Glenn Braica kept it short and sweet with the first words out of his mouth after sitting down being “”Yeah basically we got our ass kicked tonight”.
For Saint Francis Brooklyn their season comes to an end. Mount Saint Mary’s will travel up to Smithfield Rhode Island to face the number one seed Bryant in the NEC Tournament Semifinals.