Mount St. Mary’s scored 52 points in the second half to rally past Fairleigh Dickinson, 74-61, for a crucial Northeast Conference victory on Sunday afternoon at FDU’s Stratis Arena.
Mezie Offurum scored a career-high 22 points while matching a career-best with 13 rebounds to pace the Mountaineers to the win. Damian Chong Qui added a double-double of his own with 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds as the Mount improved to 9-10 overall and 8-7 in NEC play.
The outlook did not look good at halftime for the Mountaineers as they trailed 32-22 at the break. The Mount committed 11 first-half turnovers and were 0-for-7 from 3-point range in the half. FDU (8-14, 7-9 NEC) took advantage of the Mount miscues to hold a 13-to-2 edge in points off turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
The Knights held a 40-31 lead after a John Square, Jr., putback four minutes into the second half before the Mount began its comeback bid. In all, the Mount rattled off a 32-to-9 run over the next 12:19 to take control of the game.
It was a 16-4 run that started the comeback, allowing the Mount to take a 47-44 advantage. Deandre Thomas opened the surge with a 3-pointer, and Chong Qui added a triple to cut the deficit to 42-37. Offurum converted a three-point play to make it a two-point game. After FDU’s Brandon Powell hit a pair of free throws, Nana Opoku and Offurum had consecutive dunks to tie the game. Malik Jefferson hit 1-of-2 at the line to put the Mount on top, and Offurum’s lay-up made it 47-44.
FDU’s Daniel Rodriquez converted a three-point play to cut the Mount’s lead to 53-49, but Offurum countered with a bucket in the lane and then a three-point play of his own to build the Mount’s advantage to 58-49. Chong Qui added a layup, and then hit 3-of-4 at the foul line to put the Mount on top, 63-49, with 3:35 to go. The Mount led by double figures the rest of the way to secure the victory.
Offurum finished the game 7-for-11 from the field and 8-of-9 at the foul line for his game-high 22 points while adding 13 rebounds for his second double-double of the year. Chong Qui finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for his second career double-double. It is the third time this season the Mount has had two players record a double-double in the same game.
Opoku added 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting while contributing three blocks on the defensive end. Opoku has scored in double figures in each of the Mount’s past six games. Josh Reaves chipped in 11 points in the win as well.
The Mount scored 52 points in the second half to rally for the win, shooting a sizzling 64 percent (16-of-25) from the field and 55.6 percent (5-of-9) from 3-point range. That helped the Mount finish the game shooting 52.0 percent (26-of-50) overall. After the 11 turnovers in the first half, the Mount had just two miscues in the second half. The Mount held a 40-to-31 edge on the boards.
Jahlil Jenkins led FDU with 13 points, but he was held to three in the second half. Elyjah Williams added 12 points in the loss as the Knights shot 33.3 percent (21-of-63) from the field and 8-of-24 (.333) from three-point range in the game.
Up next, the Mountaineers head to Saint Francis U for a Thursday night matchup. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.