Reese's homecoming lifts Loyola over Iona, 89-84

January 06, 1994|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

Senior forward Michael Reese made a triumphant homecoming to Reitz Arena last night, scoring 28 points and grabbing a career-high 14 rebounds to lead Loyola College to a gritty 89-84 victory over Iona in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

Reese, who sat out the 1992-93 season for disciplinary reasons, was making his first appearance here since facing Iona in a conference tournament game, Feb. 29, 1992. But, if anything, the Washington native has improved his game in the interim.

"As soon as they introduced me and I walked out on the floor, I said to myself, 'I'm back.' " said Reese. "If you love this game as much as I do, sitting out a year is a real downer. I couldn't even watch college games last year."

But Reese was anything but a spectator last night. If anything, first-year coach Skip Prosser had to get his emotional senior calmed down and under control.

Reese made his biggest play in the final minute after Iona had trimmed a 15-point deficit to 83-82. Freshman guard Milt Williams was fouled with 22 seconds left, but missed the second of his two free throws.

Reese soared over Iona forward Karsten Kemna to grab the rebound, and was fouled. He converted both foul shots for an 86-82 lead.

Danny Doyle (25 points) pulled the Gaels within a basket, but Darius Johnson, another Loyola freshman guard, finally wrapped up with a free throw and a steal and layup just before the buzzer.

Junior center B. J. Pendleton chipped in with 20 points and six rebounds for the Greyhounds, who have matched their conference victory total of last season.

In fact, it was the first time since Loyola joined the MAAC five years ago that it started its conference play with a victory.

And for that, Prosser gave a lot of credit to his two freshman guards, whom he recruited.

Williams, a native of Greensboro (N.C.) filling in for Tracy Bergan, the team's leading scorer and playmaker, who remains on academic probation, contributed eight points, nine assists and a crucial steal after Iona had closed to 80-75.

Johnson, a Cincinnati product, scored 10 points, including the game-clincher, and also grabbed eight rebounds.

"Our freshman are really neophytes," said Prosser, who started a third newcomer in forward Julian Tate to go with veterans Reese and Pendleton. "They're just learning how to play. We've got to learn how to set up our shots, especially our three-pointers, and we definitely have to shoot better."

The Greyhounds shot only 43 percent from the field, but Reese (11-for-18) and Pendleton (6-for-9) made key shots whenever the Gaels (2-8) threatened to overtake the Greyhounds.

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