By Zach Smart
Julian Norfleet is excited to have his mentor back. The Mount St. Mary’s fan-base is happy to have some entertainment value back. Robert Burke is content to have his innate floor leader and the catalyst of his uptempo, baseline-to-baseline running game back.
Trice’s re-emergence in the lineup alters the perception of the Mount, which has struggled mightily in the early going. The Mount could potentially right the ship during the upcoming string of Northeast Conference games.
Lamar Trice, the Philly-bred combo guard who averaged a team-best 13.3 points last season, was back in his natural environment during Thursday’s 10-point loss to St. Francis N.Y. of Brooklyn.
Trice had been relegated to the role of spectator. He was able to participate in practice and provide moral support from the bench. Not much else, however, and that doesn’t sit well with Trice.
He’s been handed the keys to the kingdom ever since pint-sized, prolific point guard Jeremy Goode went on to weigh his professional stock over the pond.
He was issued a suspension for a violation of team rules.
Trice checked in with 16:39 remaining, replacing Josh Castellanos. He was welcomed with a loud ovation that permeated the walls of the Knott Arena. He immediately made his presence felt, snagging a rebound and ripping off a nifty drive to the cup and drawing a foul.
Trice played with the high-horsepower engine that’s defined him the past couple of years but was a bit too amped. Trice scored 10 boards and hauled in five boards, albeit he was a meager 3-for-7 from the free throw line (which was efficient for the night considering MSM shot a woeful 4-for-15 at the stripe).
“He’s instant offense, we’ve just got to get him back in game shape and ready to go,” said Julian Norfleet, who will be able to play off the ball more as a result of Trice’s return.
Norfleet was acclimatized by Trice as a freshman last season. Trice would lock up on him in practice and challenge him to take him off the dribble. The two developed a rapport in the backcourt and know each other’s game.
“It’s still Lamar’s show.”
It was Kelvin Parker’s show for much of the night.
A shy kid from William Penn High School who received interest from top-flight Division-I programs for football, Parker had a loud stickback dunk and scored a team-high 16 points. He shot the rock at a 7-for-11 clip and pulled in six caroms in 35 minutes.
MSM was an accurate depiction of a youth movement Thursday night, with freshman Parker and sophomore Norfleet (who stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, seven boards, and four assists) logging the most minutes.
A spate of turnovers derailed the Mount. They threw the rock away as if there was a grenade implanted in it (the team resembled Jerome Dyson at Madison Square Garden circa 2009), committing 18 turnovers.
St. Francis N.Y. wasn’t much better ball control-wise, with a torrent of 16 turnovers. The terriers, however, were able to capitalize on the turnovers with fast break buckets and transition leak outs.
Parker, a slasher by nature, dialed in a pair of three-pointers and energized the crowd of 789 when he slammed home a putback. The kid is a freakish freshman and can throw down more filthy double fisters than Christian Slater at the bar.
Muscle-bound manchild Xavier Owens, who slipped through some cracks as an unheralded recruit out of Florida, played 15 minutes but was a non-factor with two points and one board.