WASHINGTON -- Add McQuaid High of Rochester, N.Y., to the list of opponents top-ranked Dunbar has brushed aside this season with its offensive balance and defensive quickness.
The Poets, ranked No. 12 in the country by USA Today, ran away from McQuaid, 83-62, in the first round of the Gonzaga/D.C. Classic at American University last night to improve to 7-1.
Junior guard Michael Lloyd led the Poets with 27 points and five assists, sophomore forward Keith Booth added 20 points and eight rebounds and senior guard Terrance Alexander had 18 points.
The Poets handled McQuaid and 6-foot-10, All-America center Jason McKinney without much difficulty, although Dunbar center Donta Bright was limited to just six points because of foul trouble. McKinney led McQuaid with 18 points, but he was not a factor as the Poets won the rebound battle, 40-23.
"Whenever you lose a starter, you have to have people to come off the bench," Dunbar coach Pete Pompey said. "We have five or six players who can give us quality minutes."
The Poets' only loss this season came last Friday in New Jersey against St. Anthony's, 66-65. That defeat and the Poets' 69-65 win over Marist in the consolation game Sunday were the only games they did not win in blowout fashion.
The Poets started slowly last night, but Lloyd sparked them in the second quarter and by halftime they were well on their way to tonight's 7 o'clock semifinal rematch with Dunbar of Washington.
"We played all right, but we came out sluggish in the first half," said Lloyd. "We know that we can't do that against D.C. [Dunbar] and expect to win."
The Poets beat Dunbar of Washington, 86-68, in the Nike James Kenner Tournament Dec. 8.
Gonzaga, a 53-43 winner over St. Anne's in last night's other first-round game, meets St. Anthony's at 8:45 in tonight's other semifinal. St. Anthony's and Washington Dunbar received first-round byes.
Dunbar did not get its first points until Lloyd made the front end of a two-shot foul with 5 minutes, 19 seconds left to make it 3-1. The Poets fell behind, 7-3, before Lloyd paced a 7-0 run with a dunk and two free throws as they took the lead for good at 10-7.
The Poets held an 18-15 advantage after the first quarter despite hitting just five of 17 shots, then ran off the first six points of the second quarter to build a 24-15 lead.
About tonight's rematch with Washington's Dunbar, rated No. 20 by USA Today, Pompey said, "Dunbar is a very good team, but right now I just want to enjoy this one."