The Mount’s men’s basketball team were the victims of an unlucky run of games. With a record of 1-5, the Mount fell in double overtime at home against Howard University by a score 87-83, this was followed up by an overtime loss in the Bronx against Manhattan College, 75-74. Another close loss against American University rounded out a tough start for Dan Engelstad’s players, who’s only win came against Coppin State in the home opener by a score of 74-60. But the story drastically changed as the Mount welcomed Siena College to Emmitsburg for the conference home opener on Saturday.
The first half was defined by great defense in the paint and long periods of forcing Siena to defend without good offensive opportunities. In the first half, the Mount held Sienna to a twelve-minute period were the team grinded on defense while being productive on offense, holding them to a 24-8 score during that time. First-year student De’Shayne Montgomery went 5-6 from the field while knocking down half of his free throws for twelve points in the first half. This was aided on defense by Senior, Dakota Leffew and Sophomore, Dola Adebayo who both had three defensive rebounds in the first half. This was defined by great play under the basket, not allowing Siena any easy layups.
The second half was a continuation of the first as the Mount continued to dominate Siena, but with an improved, free flowing offensive style of play. The Mount went 18-29 from the field, improving to a 62.1% FG percentage from 45.8% in the first. This was helped along by Leffew and Montgomery who had 23 and 27 points respectively at the end of the Contest. On the season, Leffew sits at the precipice of a century of points scored at 99 through six games played. Montgomery also contributed a lot on defense with four blocks and steals across the game to help the Mountaineers easily win over Siena 80-48.
This conference win is a good turnaround for Engelstad and his players, as they have gone through a tough stretch of games in recent weeks. “We try to just keep it about the process, its super easy to get frustrated, were not getting the results and guys are putting a lot of work in, but our guys were resilient and came back to practice where you could tell there was a focus.” Said Engelstad after the game on Sunday. This crucial win against a conference rival comes right before the men’s team is to embark on a four game, two week away trip to Ole Miss, Loyola, Saint Francis, and Georgia.