STEUBENVILLE – As time expired in regulation, freshman Matt Trent hit the final basket of the game but the Mount Aloysius Mounties held on for a 63-61 win over the Franciscan men's basketball team in an AMCC nail-biter, Wednesday night.
In a game that saw five lead changes and three ties, the two teams were locked in an exciting back and forth battle. The Mounties were the first to go on the attack and opened the game with a 7-2 run over the first four minutes.
Franciscan then went on the an offensive run and freshman Michael Mendicino hit a pair of three's off passes from senior Derrick David to give the Barons their first lead of the game, 10-8. A layup from Darryl Sanders tied the game at 10-10, but Franciscan used a 12-2 run over the next two and half minutes to take a 22-12 lead with 9:42 to play in the first.
After a three-minute scoring draught for both teams, the Mounties cut the lead back to single digits, 22-14. The two teams went bucket-for-bucket over the next two and half minutes until the Mounties were finally able to trim the Baron lead back down to three, 31-28. Freshman Josh York hit both of his free throws in the final 38 seconds of the half to send the teams into the locker room with a 33-28 advantage for the Barons.
The Barons came out of halftime hot and scored seven-straight points to take their largest lead of the game, 40-28, three minutes into action.
Mount Aloysius trimmed the lead down to six, 42-36, before the Barons took their final double-digit lead of the game, 46-36 thanks to a layup from sophomore Juwan Perkins.
Franciscan was able to keep MTA at bay for most of the half until the Mounties tied the game at 52-52 with 5:47 to play. The Mounties took their first lead of the second half on their next basket but Sablan completed the traditional three-point play to hand the Barons a 55-53 lead.
Mount Aloysius took the lead for good with just over four minutes to play. Franciscan battled hard until the final minutes, but the Mounties held on and edged out Franciscan 63-61 for the win.
"We have taken a lot of punches this year," remarked first-year head coach Joe Wallace. "We keep taking punches and we learn from them and continue to take steps forward as a team. Tonight's loss definitely hurts but we are going to get up from this and get better. This isn't going to knock us out."
Sablan led the Barons with a double-double (13 pts, 12 rebounds) while David had a solid night on the floor with seven points, seven assists, four steals and three rebounds.
The Barons shot 35.0% from the floor and was 5-for-19 from beyond the arc while the Mounties were 22-53 (42.%) and 7-for-13 from the three point line. "We just didn't do a good job defending the the three tonight," remarked Coach Wallace.
We did a good job on deference on not letting them play how they have been playing but we need to do a better just defending the three and playing a complete game." Franciscan hits the road this weekend for an AMCC game with Penn State Behrend before returning home to host La Roche January 18.