Bramah, Colo­nials han­dle Mount St. Mary’s

For­ward pours in 25 points in Robert Mor­ris’ vic­tory

Baltimore Sun - - COLLEGE BASKETBALL -

The Mount St. Mary’s men’s bas­ket­ball team had few an­swers for Robert Mor­ris’ AJ Bramah’s pres­ence in the paint. And when the Moun­taineers did, Bramah’s team­mates on the perime­ter filled the void.

Bramah, a 6-foot-7, 185-pound ju­nior for­ward, scored a game-high 25 points to pace the Colo­nials, who shot 55 per­cent from three-point range to pick up a de­ci­sive 77-60 vic­tory over Mount St. Mary’s be­fore an an­nounced 1,754 at Knott Arena in a North­east Con­fer­ence matchup Thurs­day night.

Bramah, who also col­lected seven re­bounds, con­verted on 11 of 18 shots from the floor and nearly dou­bled his scor­ing av­er­age of 12.7, which ranked sec­ond among the Robert Mor­ris play­ers. He was equally ef­fec­tive in both halves, com­pil­ing 12 points in the first half and 13 points in the sec­ond.

“He was a huge fac­tor tonight,” Moun­taineers coach Dan En­gel­stad ac­knowl­edged. “You could watch it on film, and ev­ery­one’s been talk­ing about him. His ac­tiv­ity is some­thing that makes them a dif­fer­ent team. He’s very ac­tive, cleans up a lot. He doesn’t even shoot the ball, but he just has that knack around the bas­ket. I just felt like any sec­ond-chance op­por­tu­nity, he was there, and he’s very ex­plo­sive, too. They got a lot of dump-downs and drop-offs to him, and he thrives off of tee-ups. He just made us pay ev­ery time tonight. He’s an X fac­tor for their team.”

On the rare oc­ca­sions when Bramah could not find space in the post to ma­neu­ver, he re­lied on his team­mates hov­er­ing around. He had four as­sists, and his team­mates drained 11-of-20 three-point­ers

Red­shirt se­nior guard Josh Wil­liams (11 points) and ju­nior guard Jon Wil­liams (nine) had three three-point­ers each, and ju­nior guard Sayveon McEwen (12) and ju­nior for­ward Charles Bain (six) had two each for the Colo­nials, who im­proved to 15-11 over­all and 11-2 in the con­fer­ence and ex­tended their win­ning streak to six.

“It’s not re­ally hard,” Mount St. Mary’s sopho­more shoot­ing guard Vado Morse said of de­fend­ing the perime­ter. “It’s end­less ball screens. It’s just one of those games where they were hit­ting.”

The Moun­taineers trailed by only three points at 33-30 at half­time. But Robert

Mor­ris scored the sec­ond half’s first six points when Bramah found Jon Wil­liams for a three-pointer 38 sec­onds into play and then sank a layup and a free throw to com­plete a three-point play.

The teams ex­changed bas­kets, but Bain an­swered a pair of hook shots by Mount St. Mary’s sopho­more for­ward Malik Jefferson with two three-point­ers, and the Colo­nials owned a 47-36 ad­van­tage be­fore the first me­dia time­out at 15:30.

“They came out and prob­a­bly hit two threes, and we didn’t score on any of those pos­ses­sions,” said sopho­more point guard Damian Chong Qui, a Bal­ti­more res­i­dent and McDonogh grad­u­ate who had12 points, four re­bounds and two as­sists. “That first four min­utes is kind of when we usually, es­pe­cially at home, come out strong and make our push. Tonight, it didn’t work out that way.”

Jefferson paced the Moun­taineers with 17 points, eight re­bounds and two blocks, and Morse added 14 points, five as­sists and four re­bounds. But the team lost for the fourth time in its last five games and slid to 10-15 over­all and 6-6 in the league.

En­gel­stad cred­ited Robert Mor­ris with be­ing phys­i­cal on the boards (37-30 lead in re­bounds) and nearly ev­ery­where else.

“That’s as tough a team that has come into our build­ing,” he said. “They were phys­i­cally tough, they were men­tally tough. They had one of those nights where they shot it re­ally well — a com­bi­na­tion of them get­ting on fire and then us not be­ing as locked in de­fen­sively as we needed to be. Es­pe­cially the early part of the sec­ond half, they just started mak­ing some shots and kind of pulled us out. And once we got the floor space, they were able to get in the paint. It was not our best ef­fort.”

Thurs­day’s game is the first of a fiveg­ame stretch over the next 11 days, and Chong Qui ad­mit­ted that Mount St. Mary’s is ap­proach­ing a piv­otal junc­ture in its sea­son.

“It’s def­i­nitely crit­i­cal,” he said. “Coach talked about it in the locker room. We­have a quick turn­around. … Can’t re­ally do any­thing about this. We’ve got to lock in for Satur­day against Saint Fran­cis.”

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