HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Blue Mountain Men's Basketball knocked off No. 7 in the nation and SSAC foe William Carey last Thursday in enemy territory 72-68 behind a stellar game from Da'Juonta Ross (SR/Chattanooga, Tenn.).
Looking to prove he is one of the best players in the SSAC, Ross put together possibly his best collegiate performance, scoring 18 points and pulling down 16 rebounds for a double-double.
During the first half, the Toppers didn't find the bucket as much as they like, shooting 34 percent to Carey's 48 percent.
Xavion Young and Tyree Beason (SR/Memphis, Tenn.) both led BMC in the first frame with eight points apiece.
During the second half, Blue Mountain flipped a 41-34 deficit to an eight-point lead at the 8:30 mark thanks to Ross shifting to another gear.
Ross spent the early part of the half picking off passes, grabbing critical rebounds and scoring in transition.
The Toppers applied some full-court pressure in the second half, eventually forcing 13 Crusader turnovers.
Also not to be denied, Beason would fill it up for Blue Mountain, leading all scorers with 22 points and grabbing seven boards.
As a team, Blue Mountain would yank down an incredible 19 offensive rebounds.
At the 5:30 mark in the second, Carey would take a 59-58 lead on two free-throws by Brandon Cranford.
Back and forth with 3:30 left, Ross gave the Toppers the lead 63-61 on a cut to the basket to score on a pass from Jonah Simpson (SR/Jackson, Miss.).
Carey was forced to foul with 12 seconds left, sending Simpson to the line where he hit 1-of-2 and Lukas Durasas (JR/Panevezys, Lithuania) sealed it with three seconds left at the line with two charity shots.
"We really stepped up in the second half," BMC head coach Jermael Bingham said. "We got the stops we needed and did a tremendous job on the offensive glass and hit crucial free-throws down the stretch. Give Carey credit, they're ranked for a reason and have a great ball team, so I'm very pleased with how our guys stepped up to the challenge tonight."