Baltimore denies Phipps 600th triumph Last 8 minutes sink Essex, 77-56

January 08, 1993|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

It figured that one of Jerry Phipps' former players would spoil the party.

Phipps, a basketball coach who has spent most of a 33-year career inside the Baltimore Beltway, was seeking victory No. 600 when he sent Essex Community College against visiting Baltimore City Community College yesterday.

It did not materialize, however, as Baltimore, coached by Roger Dickens, pulled away in the last eight minutes for a 77-56 Maryland Junior College Conference triumph. Dickens played for Phipps at the Community College of Baltimore (which joins Baltimore Junior College and the New Community College of Baltimore as the school's names of the last 30 years) during the 1973-75 seasons.

"It's not easy when I go against my teacher," Dickens said beforehand, "but I'm not going to give him No. 600. He didn't teach me that way."

What Phipps does teach is defense, rebounding, and perhaps above all, tenacity. Baltimore (6-5) used these weapons much better than Essex (7-4), although the home team did manage to climb back from a 10-point deficit to within 54-51 with 8:15 remaining.

From there, Baltimore boosted its lead to 61-53, and after Akeil Johns' three-point goal with five minutes left made it 61-56, the visitors went on to score the last 16 points.

Phipps and Johns offered about the same explanation. "We didn't want it," the coach said in disgust. "They out-hustled us," the player said.

Despite starting without two regulars -- there was some confusion over the 2 p.m. starting time and they came in with eight minutes gone -- Baltimore jumped ahead early with nine straight points, but Essex closed the margin to a point twice, the last at 19-18 halfway through the period.

By halftime, Baltimore had eight scorers, topped by David Brown with 13, as it led, 48-38. In contrast, Mike White led four Essex scorers with 12. For the game, Brown had 23, including three three-pointers, followed by Curtis Sheppard with 18. White ended with 17, and he and his teammates made the opposition's job easier by shooting 30 percent from the field and failing to block out effectively.

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