Dunbar holds off OT challenge by St. Raymond's, 61-59

December 09, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Don't take away Dunbar's No. 1 mantle just yet.

The Poets showed the heart of the defending national champions they are in last night's 61-59 overtime victory over St. Raymond's of New York in the fourth and final game of the Charm City/Big Apple Challenge at the Baltimore Arena.

Lacking four starters from last season, Dunbar trailed, 59-56, with 19.4 seconds left after the Ravens' Eric Harris (14 points) hit two free throws. But the Poets' Norman Nolan (16 points, six rebounds, four blocks) was fouled on a successful put-back, and tied the game with his free throw with 6.5 seconds showing.

Nolan's teammate Keith Booth (25 points, 10 rebounds) stole the ensuing inbounds pass and was fouled by Rashaan Thompson, making both free throws to capture the win, Dunbar's 54th in a row.

"I was looking for the pass to come in and I was able to keep my balance and just step in front of him," said Booth, the only returning starter from last year's 29-0 national champion squad, which beat the Ravens (1-2) twice a year ago.

"But I give credit to the young guys, they're the ones who won it for us."

It appeared Dunbar (2-0) would win easily, holding a 41-33 lead to start the fourth quarter.

But St. Raymond's, which had led only once, 14-13, in the first half, used an 8-0 run -- capped by a Damon Boneapart (13 rebounds) slam dunk -- to close to within 44-43 with 4:31 left.

Kareem Reid (12 points, three assists) then made his free throws to give the Ravens a 45-44 lead with 3:33 remaining. The lead changed six more times until Dunbar's Mike Cooper (five points, 12 rebounds) grabbed a rebound and the Poets called timeout, trailing 51-50 with 37.5 seconds left.

Eric Harris fouled Booth with 19.3 seconds showing, and Booth tied the game, missing his second attempt.

Dunbar got the ball back with 7.3 seconds left, but Booth -- fouled by Reid with 5.9 seconds remaining -- missed the front end of the one-and-one, and Reid's three-pointer bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

The Baltimore Arena was the site of Dunbar's last loss, 60-57, to neighborhood rival Southern in 1990, but the Poets refused to go down with such luminaries as UCLA coach Jim Harrick and Maryland coach Gary Williams in the stands.

"We just believed in ourselves and kept telling ourselves we could win," said Nolan, a junior transfer from Milford Mill. "I played real good and we've got a bunch of young guys who really helped."

The Ravens entered the game ranked 18th by USA Today (Dunbar was No. 5), with a fierce reputation for forcing turnovers with their multiple defensive pressure -- and with ceremonially shaved heads.

And they hoped to scalp the Poets' backcourt, since Dunbar coach Pete Pompey entered the game unsettled about who would play the point -- despite sophomore Jeryl Singletary's ability to run the offense in its season-opening 88-67 victory over Edmondson.

"It's a big win," said Pompey. "When you lose four starters and play against a nationally ranked team, and take them to overtime, it's a very big win."

Pompey alternated Booth in the backcourt but was pleased with Singletary (seven points, seven turnovers), Nolan, Alexander Mobley and Cooper.

"They played very well," said Pompey. "Nolan just stepped up and really knocked that foul shot in. Considering all he's been through, he really came through."

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