ANNAPOLIS -- Dunbar had the speed, quickness and court discipline, but most of all the inside power, to turn last night's matchup of No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams into a mismatch, as the Poets overpowered host Annapolis, 80-61.
Dunbar (16-1) earned its fifth victory over the Panthers (11-2) in as many games by frustrating a matchup zone that was supposed to force it to hit from the outside.
But the Poets went inside, anyway.
They not only burned Annapolis for basket after basket off the baseline but had a 55-29 rebounding advantage. That -- coupled with Panthers turnovers and missed free throws -- did the job.
"Basically, they just killed us inside. They beat us physically," said Annapolis coach John Brady.
"How many outside shots did they have? That zone was to make them shoot from outside, but they beat us inside," Brady said. "They have talent."
That talent included top-notch outings by guards Terrance Alexander (23 points, 12 rebounds) and Michael Lloyd (21 points), and forwards Donta Bright and Keith Booth, who combined for 28 points and another 20 rebounds.
Said Dunbar coach Pete Pompey, "If the rebounding had been closer, the ballgame would have been different -- but we basically out-rebound everybody we play."
"Under the circumstances, we played well. We haven't played a close game or a tough team in awhile, so we did some things poorly," Pompey said. "We didn't shoot well [31 of 89], but we made them when we had to."
Annapolis sought to become only the second Anne Arundel County team to defeat a team ranked No. 1 (Severna Park upset Cardinal Gibbons, 72-71, on Wayne Villano's shot at the buzzer midway through the 1974 season).
That prospect disappeared with Annapolis' turnovers (22 to Dunbar's 11), the vast gap in rebounds and weak foul shooting. In the first half, Annapolis made two of 11 free throws -- and missed its last six before the intermission.
The Panthers were within 20-14, as Dennis Edwards scored 11 of his team-high 21 points in the first eight minutes. But Edwards, who has been suffering from flu-like symptoms, played sparingly from there.
Delmore Howard (21 points) and Rob Wooster (13) did their share to pick up the load, but it was far from enough.
Dunbar moved out to a 37-25 edge at halftime and increased the margin to 57-41 entering the fourth quarter.
Its biggest lead was 67-46 on Lloyd's drive with 4 minutes, 36 seconds to play.