Tiny Mount St. Mary's College was holding its annual Christmas dance Dec. 6, and Mark Scallion's friends were in a quandary. The Division II Mounties were to play St. Paul's that night, and Scallion, a 6'2" senior guard, needed 10 points to reach 1,000 for his career. That's a lot of points for someone who has never started a game.
His pals couldn't miss that milestone, nor did they want to forgo the parties preceding the social event of the year in Emmitsburg, Md. So they told Scallion to get his 10 by half-time. The group showed up five minutes after the game started, confident that they wouldn't miss any Scallion baskets. Sure enough, their man came off the bench 7:47 minutes after tip-off and scored his 10 points before intermission.
Scallion is in all likelihood the only college player ever to score 1,000 points without starting a game. But as the sixth man he is averaging 15.2 points per game for the 11-1 Mounties, ranked No. 3 in Division II. Scallion is also shooting at a 66.7% clip from three-point range (22 for 33).
"Normally when you substitute, you go from strong to weak," says Mounties coach Jim Phelan, who has 616 wins in 33 seasons at the school. "With Mark, we go from strong to stronger. When he misses his first shot we think something's wrong."
On Dec. 8 the Mounties missed their first 16 shots against Kutztown. Enter Scallion, who hit his first four and finished with a career-high 25 points in an 80-55 victory. His previous best had come during his sophomore year versus Bridgeport and 7'6" Manute Bol. While the Mounties trailed 12-0 as Bol swatted away shots with impunity, Scallion says, "I sat on the bench practically drooling." When Phelan called on him he scored 23 and led the Mounties to a 13-point win.
Scallion made it to that Christmas dance, by the way, though he wasn't there for the start. Naturally.
Scallion is boffo off the bench.