- Steven Morano
MSMU Beat SFU in Men's Basketball
Mount St. Mary’s took on Northeast Conference rivals Saint Francis University during their Homecoming game at Knott Arena on Jan. 29.
The first half started well, with Mount sticking mostly with their starters to fend off an early offensive display by SFU. The first half ended 35-28 with Engelstad and his players going into the locker room at half with a seven-point lead on the visitors.
The team went into the second half knowing that their defense was on point and that they could shut down the pressing of SFU. The team turned their defensive prowess into good offensive play, scoring 11 points off turnovers while only turning the ball over themselves six times. Jalen Benjamin (C’23) scored 22 points and Nana Opoku (C’22) scored 14 points for the Mount.
The valuable contribution from Opoku and Benjamin made the Mountaineers’ half-time cushion feel safe as they added 36 more points in the 2nd half to beat SFU 71-54 and improve to 6-4 in conference play.
Opoku, who had six rebounds during the game said, “Coming into this game, we knew that Saint Francis was a physical team, we knew that we had to be the tougher team, to be able to just go down the line and grind them out.”
The Mount defense was a big contribution to this overwhelming victory. When asked about the importance of defense, Engelstad said, “One big key for us is we are going to win games when we don't turn the basketball over, when we are strong with the basketball, it is going to be tough to beat us because we have guys that can really shoot it and we have great guys that can crash the glass.”
Mount St. Mary’s has back-to-back home games against Merrimack and Bryant on Feb. 3 and Feb. 5. With Merrimack not far behind the Mount in fifth and Bryant second in the conference, Coach Engelstad and the rest of his players look to take their five-game win streak into consecutive games at Knott Arena to try and improve their conference standing.