Gibbons gets past Loyola, 69-66

December 23, 1992|By Bob Clark | Bob Clark,Contributing Writer

It's only December but the two teams expected to be in th thick of the battle for the Catholic League title turned Loyola's Hardagen Gymnasium into something reminiscent of March Madness last night.

When junior guard Steve Wojciechowski calmly swished his fifth three-pointer of the second half, this one with just five seconds left in overtime, No. 7 Cardinal Gibbons emerged with a 69-66 victory over No. 10 Loyola.

It was Wojciechowski who forced the overtime period with a three-pointer with 25 seconds left in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 63.

Then he opened the overtime scoring with another three-pointer to put the Crusaders on top. Loyola's Tim O'Hara countered with a three-pointer to pull the Dons even.

But Gibbons regained possession on a jump ball and after a timeout worked the final minute and a half off the clock before Wojciechowski capped his 25-point night with the game-winner.

The victory improved Gibbons to 6-4 overall, 2-0 in the MSA A Conference Armstrong Division and 1-0 in the Catholic League. Loyola, led in scoring by Jerry Hunt's 17 points, fell to 5-3 overall, 1-1 in the A Conference and 1-1 in the Catholic League.

Loyola had moved in front of a closely contested contest with a 10-point run sparked by sophomore Reggie Boyce early in the fourth quarter. But the 53-45 Loyola lead diminished on a four-point play by Wojciechowski and a three-pointer from Jerard Rucker.

"We lost our poise early in the fourth quarter," said Gibbons coach Ray Mullis. "But we called a timeout and Wojciechowski said, 'We've got six minutes left; we can still win.' "

Loyola still led 63-58 with just over a minute left in regulation. But Rucker hit a short jumper in the lane before Wojciechowski tied the game and sent it into overtime.

"We kept our poise in the end and played well in overtime," said Mullis. "This was a great win for us and a great way to open the Catholic League."

Neither team could forge a safe lead in the opening three quarters. The teams battled to a 14-14 tie after a first quarter that had four ties and five lead changes.

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