Fifth-ranked Gaels make hay at the charity stripe in 69-52 win over Loyola

Senior All-American Jalen Smith scored a game-high 27 points, with 19 coming from the free throw line, as Mount St. Joseph downed Mount St. Joseph.

by Joe DiBlasi

No. 5 Mount St. Joseph made it 15 wins in a row, Friday night, with a 69-52 victory over Loyola Blakefield in an MIAA A Conference/ Baltimore Catholic League contest in Towson.

The Gaels scored almost half of their points at the free throw line, hitting a blistering 33-for-36 from the stripe (92%) on the 5th annual Coaches Against Cancer Institute “We Care Night” at Blakefield.

McDonald’s All-American Jalen Smith led the Mount with 27 points, going 19-for-22 from the line, including his first 13 attempts in a row from the stripe.

The Dons raced out to an early 8-0 lead behind the hot hand of J.J. Halaby, who hit two quick threes and a jumper inside the arc in the first three minutes of the game. Halaby had 18 points for Coach Josh Davalli in the first half. The high-scoring senior led all scorers with 28 points on the night, but it wasn’t enough.

The Dons held a 17-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Gaels battled back to tie the game at the half, at 28-28, thanks to Smith who scored all 13
first-half points without hitting a field goal.

James Bishop threw in eight points in the third quarter after being held scoreless in the first half, and his leadership helped the Gales take a 48-38 lead after three quarters, which they would never relinquish.

The Mount held Halaby to just one field goal in the third quarter and slowing him down changed the tempo of the game.

Bishop said, “We were able to step things up on defense in the second half and that turned out to be the difference. My shots just weren’t falling in the first half, but I was able to contribute later on.”

Bishop finished with 10 points.

The ever humble Smith, who will attend the University of Maryland in the fall said, “We’re playing well together as a team which has helped us to win so many games in a row.”

In addition to his team-leading 27 points, Smith also snared 14 rebounds and blocked three shots.

“We we knew we had to stop Halaby in the second half and we did,” added the 6-foot-10 senior.

Tyre Myers had 11 for the Mount and Kendall McMillan added 10 points.

Halaby was the only Don in double-figures. St Joe was able to hold high scoring Cameron Shaw to just eight points. Shaw scored 29 against MSJ on December 8th in Irvington, when the Gaels prevailed 67-62.

MSJ 12 16 20 21 — 69
LOY 17 11 10 14 — 52
MOUNT ST. JOSEPH: Smith. 27, Bishop 10, McMillan 10, Myers 11, McDonald 4, Crawley 7.
LOYOLA: Halaby 28, Shaw 8, C.Nnake 2, Fox 3, Hepting 3, D. Nnake 4, Young 2, Fischer 2.