Iona stops Green, knocks out Loyola, 59-53

March 08, 1992|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Long after the game, the tears still were welling in Kevin Green's eyes.

He was having trouble dealing with the end of his magnificent career at Loyola College, which couldn't shake its postseason blues again yesterday.

"This is one of the most disappointing losses I've ever had," said Green. "We thought we could really do something here if we got past the first game . . . and we didn't."

The Greyhounds' season came to a crushing halt in the quarterfinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament, when Iona dominated the final two minutes and pulled out a 59-53 victory at Knickerbocker Arena.

It was the sixth consecutive postseason defeat for Loyola.

Green was held to 12 points and finished his four-year career at the school with 2,154. After 43 seasons, Jim Lacy remains the school's all-time leader with 2,199.

Fifth-seeded Iona plays Manhattan in tonight's semifinals. Iona was as gritty on defense as the Greyhounds were, and the Gaels overcame ineffective shooting by crashing the boards and hitting 13 more free throws.

A matchup zone limited Green to nine shots. He was almost totally silenced after hitting two three-pointers and a layup in the first 5 1/2 minutes.

"They were zoning us most of the game and matching to the outside shooters," he said. "We didn't get much penetration and when the shots did come, I couldn't hit them."

Still, the Gaels (14-14) shot only 23 percent in the first half and 38 percent for the game, and that kept Loyola (14-14) in it until the finish.

But after senior Kevin Anderson scored on a driving layup with 2:05 to play for a 51-49 lead, the Greyhounds were blanked until the final six seconds. By then, the outcome had been decided.

A jumper by Danny Golembiewski tied the game and Tracy Bergan committed a costly turnover. Loyola got a brief reprieve when Derrick Canada missed a dunk at the other end, but a free throw by Antoine Lewis gave Iona the lead.

Loyola had one more chance to stay in the game, but Anderson missed a short jumper. "I thought it was going in, but it didn't and then we had to foul," Anderson said.

Golembiewski hit the first free throw, then missed the second. Harry Hart got the rebound and tapped it in for a 55-51 lead. The defeat prevented Loyola from winning seven straight for the first time since the 1964-65 season and underscored the point that tournament play is a different game.

"We consider going into the postseason as if we're 0-0," said Canada, who led the Gaels with 18 points and seven rebounds.

Greyhounds coach Tom Schneider credited Iona for "playing a terrific game, especially defensively. They really did a great job of limiting Kevin Green's opportunities and showed more poise down the stretch than we did."

Perhaps it was the noon starting time or the lack of pre-game practice at the arena, but both teams labored through a sloppy first half. Loyola couldn't hold onto the ball (10 turnovers), and Iona couldn't shoot (7-for-30, despite 12 offensive rebounds). The result: a 21-21 halftime tie.

"I think both teams felt lucky to be where they were," said Anderson.

But freshmen Brian Pendleton and David Credle, who combined for 19 points and nine rebounds, couldn't withstand Iona's inside assault alone. The Gaels held a 37-27 rebounding edge.

Loyola forward Michael Reese played only 22 minutes and contributed little after practicing sparingly on a sprained left ankle. "I just wasn't myself," he said. Green said: "He couldn't make his moves."

So Iona, which has reached the MAAC final five times since 1982, used its athleticism and will to prevail.

"Everybody was pumped up for the game at our place," Pendleton said, referring to Loyola's 62-61 victory over Iona last Saturday at Reitz Arena. "Here, we just came out kind of flat. It was tough for me to play this early, but I don't think the fact that we hadn't been on the floor is an excuse."

The expectations of the hottest team entering the tourney thus fell flat and Green was deprived of a last-chance run at Lacy's record.

L "It was all up to the team," said Green. "It didn't happen."

Anderson summed it up. "For me and Kevin, this is really tough because we went through some real hard times . . . the 4-24 season [1989-90]. We went into post-season play not knowing if

we had a chance. We thought we did this time."

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