FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) -Jean Cajou and Kelly Beidler each scored 15 points and Mount St. Mary's earned a trip to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999 with a 68-55 win Wednesday night over Sacred Heart in the Northeast Conference championship game.
Jeremy Goode added 13 and Shawn Atupem had 12 for the fourth-seeded Mountaineers (18-14), who won the tournament for the third time, but the first under a coach other than Jim Phelan. Current coach Milan Brown was an assistant on the last championship team.
Mount St. Mary's has won eight of its last nine, including a win over top-seed Robert Morris in the semifinals.
Mount St. Mary's students held up signs urging their team to ``Win for Dustin,'' and began chanting ``Dustin Bauer'' as the game wound down. Bauer, a senior at the school, was placed on life support after injuring his head in a fall from the first-floor landing of a residence hall early Sunday morning.
Brice Brooks had 18 points and Drew Shubik had 13 to lead Sacred Heart (18-14), which cut a nine-point deficit to 57-55 with just over three minutes left.
But Beidler hit a basket that stretched the lead back to four, and Shubik threw the ball into the hands of Mount St. Mary's Markus Mitchell on the other end. Mount St. Mary's scored 11 straight to end the game, most of those from the foul line.
The two teams combined for 52 fouls, and the Mountaineers were 30-of-35 from the foul line.
Ryan Howard, who averages over eight points for Sacred Heart, fouled out with more than seven minutes left.
Chris Vann, who averages almost 15 points per game and is the Mountaineers' leading scorer, picked up his third and fourth fouls less than two minutes into the second half. He came back into the game with about eight minutes to go, and immediately hit a jumper, his first points, to give Mount St. Mary's a 50-42 lead, but finished with four points.
The Pioneers scored first, but hit one of their next 12 shots, and committed four early turnovers. The Mountaineers went on 13-2 run, and were up 13-4 with 12 minutes left in the first half.
The Mount led 28-19 late in the half, but Sacred Heart scored the last four points, the final two coming on a putback by Howard at the buzzer.
Sacred Heart started the second half on a 6-0 run, taking the lead on a three-point play by Shubik. But the Mount put together an 8-0 run to go back up 40-33.
The Pioneers were making their second trip to the title game. They lost a year ago to Central Connecticut.

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