Mike Johnson scored on a drive with two seconds remaining to lift Mount St. Mary's to a 66-64 victory over Catholic last night in a thriller before a packed house of 3,000 at Brookland Gymnasium.
Cardinal guard Donnie Farrell missed a pair of free throws with 1:09 left and the score tied at 64. The visitors successfully held the ball for the next minute to set up Johnson's gamewinning shot.
Catholic (5-17) held a 64-60 lead with 1:47 remaining after overcoming a five-point deficit in the final five minutes. But Steve Rossignoli hit both ends of a one-and-one, the Mounties stole the ball on Catholic's inbound play and Rossignoli sank a layup to tie the score at 64 with 1:18 left.
The Mounties raised their record to 16-8.
It was the fourth game in CU's last seven decided by two points or fewer. Catholic has split those four games.
Midway through the second half, the visitors scored six straight points to take a 49-42 lead.
Substitute Frank Ciurlino hit a free throw, Catholic's Joe Colletta missed and Mike Pearson canned a layup as Mount St. Mary's turned to a quick transition attack. After Jim Rowe's layup and ensuing free throw for a 49-42 Mountie lead, the Cardinals switched to a man-to-man defense.
Mike Neville hit six points and Bill Dankos four more during a Cardinal charge that tied the score at 58 with slightly less than four minutes left.
The Mounties overcame slippery floor conditions at their end of the court and took a 20-10 lead over the cold-shooting Cardinals. Catholic was also hurt by a failure to box out on the defensive boards.
The Cardinals made their move in the final three minutes of the first half.Trailing, 28-20, they rallied to score 10 straight points behind the hustle of Farrell and forward Bill Dooley, plus the rebounding of Neville, a freshman center.
Dankos drove for a layup to make it 28-22. Then Neville sank both shots in a one-and-one foul situation to make it 28-24. Farrell made a steal and Dooley passed to Dave Butler for a three-point play and a 28-27 score.
Catholie pulled even when Farrell hit one of two free throws with 10 seconds left. His miss was kept alive by Neville, and Farrell took the ball at the free-throw line and drove for a layup and a 30-28 Cardinal lead with one second left in the half.