"Hot" was a relative term at Johns Hopkins' Newton H. White Athletic Center last night.
The Blue Jays' Andy Enfield was semi-torrid once he decided to unleash his heat-seeking jump shot midway through the first half.
The University of Rochester's Adam Petrosky, meanwhile, was semi-conscious, scoring most of his career-high 31 points from the distant perimeter.
And then there were the 1,075 Hopkins fans who sweated along with their team in sauna-like conditions as gym temperatures climbed into the mid-80s.
On a night when Indian summer revisited Baltimore, Rochester, the defending NCAA Division III champion, squeezed out a sweltering 81-73 victory over -- get this -- the cold-shooting Blue Jays.
"We're not nearly the shooting team this year we were last year," Hopkins coach Bill Nelson said after dropping his home opener.
Except for Enfield, that is. The 6-foot-1 senior guard and team captain is carrying the Jays on his back at the moment. Five games into a shooting slump, the Blue Jays are hitting just 43 percent from the field. Subtract Enfield's blistering 56 percent accuracy and the rest of the Jays check in at a frigid 38 percent.
The wonder, then, is that Hopkins has won three of its first five games. And that as bad as they shot last night -- they missed 10 of 22 free throws -- they still had a chance to win it.
"He kept us in the game," Nelson said of Enfield's 33-point performance that was two shy of his career high.
It was a curious 33-point performance. For the first 10 minutes, Enfield tried to coax his teammates out of their slump. No dice. Eight minutes into the game, he hadn't taken a shot and Hopkins trailed by 13.
With 10:33 left in the half, he pumped in a baseline jumper for his first bucket of the night. He finished the half with 10 points, then fired in 23 in the second half, twice getting Hopkins as close as a point. But try as he might, he couldn't get the Blue Jays over the hump. Or past Petrosky, who far exceeded his previous career high of 20 points.
Enfield hit 13 of 22, and four of nine from three-point range, to win the battle of sharpshooters. But Petrosky (12-for-18, 4-for-6) won the war. Hopkins packed its defense inside to muzzle the bigger Yellowjackets and their 6-8 standout, Chris Fite. The defense, devised by assistant coach Bob McClone, achieved its primary purpose.
Fite scored eight points and was not a factor. But the price Hopkins paid was giving open shots to Petrosky, who nailed his two most damaging three-pointers at the 13-minute mark of the second half to turn a sweaty 47-46 Rochester lead into a 53-48 advantage.
"People haven't been able to stop Fite," said Rochester coach Mike Neer, "so we haven't had to show what we could do on the perimeter. They tested us and we answered."
"I couldn't believe the way they hit from the outside," Enfield said. "They never showed us that before. If we shot the way we usually do, and they shoot the way they usually do [from the outside], we would win. Last year they killed us inside [in a 87-69 Rochester victory].
"The loss makes the team want to win even more now. The fact they are defending national champs doesn't mean anything to me. I respect what they accomplished, but I knew we could play with them before this game."
All Enfield needs is a little more warmth from the rest of the team.
Bill Zahn scored 12 points and Jay Gangemi and Eric Hastings had 10 apiece for the Jays. And although he didn't score, point guard Dave Eikenberg contributed four critical steals and six assists . . . For the 43rd straight game in a streak that dates to February 1989, Rochester (4-1) forced its opponent to shoot less than 50 percent from the field . . . In the women's preliminary, Hopkins fried Rochester, 78-46, getting 21 points from Juliane Rolapp, 16 from Kristie Kantowski and 12 from Tracey Williams.