EMMITSBURG -- Loyola's first four-game win streak over Mount St. Mary's in 40 years was in doubt with 12 minutes to play.
The Greyhounds had Tracy Bergan on the bench with four fouls and trailed by seven points, and it wasn't a coincidence that the deficit disappeared when Bergan returned. The senior guard scored 16 of his game-high 28 points in the final nine minutes, as Loyola came back for an 85-79 victory over the Mountaineers before 2,950 at the Knott Arena.
Loyola (3-2) never trailed after Bergan's three-pointer from the top of the key with 2:31 remaining put them on top 75-73. Jeff Balistrere's basket at the other end tied it, and the Greyhounds went ahead for good on B. J. Pendleton's three-pointer from the left side with 1:36 left. Darius Johnson beat Mount St. Mary's up-court for one of the game's few uncontested baskets with 45 seconds left, and Bergan secured the win with five of six free throws in the final 28 seconds.
"Bergan played a super game," said Mountaineers coach Jim Phelan, a 40-year veteran who was in the U.S. Marine Corps when Loyola enjoyed its last four-game streak against the Mount. "If they can get both he and [Michael] Reese together, they're going to be a real factor in their league."
Under first-year coach Skip Prosser, Loyola has surpassed its win total of last season, when it was 2-25. Loyola has 23 days off before its next game, and by then the lineup could include Reese, the 6-foot-8 forward who was the Greyhounds' top scorer and rebounder in 1991-92. He hopes to become eligible at the end of the semester.
The Greyhounds also figure to be a little more familiar with Prosser and his take-no-prisoners philosophy. Last night, he had them mount intense full-court pressure, particularly on Chris McGuthrie, the sophomore guard who came in averaging 27.5 points. He was limited to 17.
"We had a great game plan," Bergan said. "Coach Battle [assistant Jeff Battle] said that the way McGuthrie goes, the team goes. We were able to keep the pressure on them and keep them out of their offense early."
Mount St. Mary's (2-1) missed its first nine shots and fell behind 17-7 in the opening 10 minutes, but Loyola couldn't maintain its defensive pace and the Mountaineers got back in it in a hurry with a 13-0 run that cut the difference to 26-25 with 1:53 left in the half.
Bergan was charged with his third and fourth fouls within the first five minutes of the second half, and the Mountaineers took advantage of his absence to go on an 8-2 spurt that had them on top 51-44 with 12:40 left. Prosser didn't waste any time getting Bergan back in the game, and the DeMatha High graduate delivered. They were down 61-54 but tied it with a 10-point spurt that began and ended with three-pointers by Bergan.
Bergan, who missed Wednesday's loss at American because of tendinitis in his left leg, had eight assists and three steals to go with his 28 points, and is eight assists shy of the Greyhounds career record.
Pendleton had 20 points, freshman guard Johnson had 16 and eight rebounds, and freshman forward Julian Tate shrugged off a shaky first half to get 14 and six.
McGuthrie had been a one-man gang in the Mountaineers' win over East Carolina, but he got help last night from junior forward Michael Watson, who had 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, and freshman center Randy Edney, who had 10 points. Silas Cheung's 10 points included a pair of baskets that gave the Mountaineers two of their last three leads.