Second-half rally not enough as Mount St. Joseph falls to Hope College in NCAA first round

Second-half rally not enough as Mount St. Joseph falls to Hope College in NCAA first round

LOCATION: Rock Island, Ill. (Augustana College, NCAA Tournament)

The Mount St. Joseph men's basketball team traveled to Rock Island, Ill. for a matchup with No. 9 Hope College in the first NCAA tournament game in school history. After falling behind by as much as 24 points the Lions fought back to get as close as eight points. 

The Lions came out of the game cold from the field, and Hope started the game white-hot. The Dutchmen jumped out to 17-4 lead only five minutes into the game. It was a lead they would not relinquish as the Dutchmen shot an unbelievable 72 percent from the field in the first half. The Lions were not bad offensively in the first half as they were able to shoot 50 percent themselves, getting 16 first half points from Senior Femi Thompson. The Lions though found themselves trailing 55-33 at the half. 

The second half began the same way as the first with Hope pushing their lead to a game high 24 with 17:29 to play. From that point thought the Lions played much better on the defensive end, and began to chip away at the lead. The run was sparked by the shooting of Senior Joel Scudder, who scored 24 points in the second half. The Mount was able to cut the lead to eight points with 5:03 to play, and again with 4:06 to play. The Lions though were unable to get over the hump to get the game any closer. 

The Lions finished the season 18-10, and will graduate Thompson, Scudder and Travis Combs as the most accomplished class in school history.                                                                                

Scudder led the way for the Lions with 27 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. He was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line in the game. 

Thompson scored 20 points for the Lions and pulled in a team-high 9 rebounds. 

The loss ends the season for the Lions.