Loyola falls in 2nd half, loses, 63-47 Iona's experience makes difference

January 15, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

A team that had played perhaps its most complete half of the season broke down after the break last night.

The result was another loss for Loyola College, 63-47, to a veteran Iona team that capitalized on all the faults of the Greyhounds' youth in its Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener.

It was the seventh straight setback for Loyola (1-10, 0-2), which scored a mere 16 second-half points, five of them in the final two minutes after the reserves had entered the game, while shooting 24 percent from the floor.

"We're playing not to lose rather than playing to win," Greyhounds coach Tom Schneider said. "We're young and inexperienced and didn't shoot the ball well.

"They did everything they wanted to do [in the second half]," Schneider said of the Gaels.

"Iona is a good, seasoned team. They turned it up a notch, and we didn't respond."

The Gaels (7-5, 1-0) trailed until 10:25 remained when Bashkim Mustafaj drove for a 39-38 lead.

Loyola remained in contention for four more minutes and closed Iona's lead to 44-42 after Matt Gabriel made a three-pointer. But Iona poured through the next 13 points and put away its sixth victory in its past eight games.

Mustafaj was threatening to outscore the Greyhounds by himself in the second half until the final spurt by the Loyola mop-up gang. He wound up with 14 second-half points. Center Harry Hart added 11.

Mustafaj and Hart had a combined eight points in the first 20 minutes when Loyola built its largest halftime lead of the season, 31-20.

But the Jekyll and Hyde nature of this contest was evident when Corey Taylor scored on a three-pointer and Hart converted a three-point play to start the start half and bring Iona within five.

"We didn't execute," Schneider said.

"Everything broke down. We stopped scoring and couldn't get a rebound no matter what defense we were in.

"We've been losing, and things get away from you after a while. There's not a whole lot you can do about it. We're just too tentative, afraid to win."

The Greyhounds' only victory came Dec. 12 at Reitz Arena against Mount St. Mary's. They nearly broke the spell at Navy Monday, but lost in double overtime.

A team missing Tracy Bergan, Kevin Green, Michael Reese and Kevin Anderson from last season obviously is undersupplied with firepower.

Iona is virtually the same team that eliminated the Greyhounds in the quarterfinals of the MAAC tournament last season, 59-53, with three senior and two junior starters.

But 12 first-half turnovers limited the Gaels to 22 shot attempts, and Loyola took advantage with a barrage of three-pointers early and a late 6-0 run to gain control at the half.

But Iona crushed the Greyhounds on the boards in the second half (26-11). It was a total collapse.

The losing streak is Loyola's longest since a nine-game skid that carried into the first four games of last season.

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