Loyola gets win and Bergan, too

January 11, 1994|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

Loyola won a doubleheader yesterday.

Not only did the Greyhounds get a lift from their bench and handle Navy, 78-68, at Reitz Arena to add to their best start in seven seasons, but there also was good news involving a player who never shed his warm-ups.

Earlier in the day, Loyola (6-3) learned that Tracy Bergan's academic suspension was over, and that the senior point guard could rejoin the Greyhounds. First-year coach Skip Prosser didn't use Bergan last night, but said he could play tomorrow night against UMBC.

"I made a conscious decision not to play him tonight," Prosser said. "He had to do some things academically which weren't done on time. It was actually the team's decision to take him back on the team. It was up to them."

According to an athletic department spokesman, Bergan's status for the second semester was in doubt because of unfinished course work in the first semester. He completed his course work last week, began practicing with the Greyhounds last Thursday and yesterday Loyola's Committee on Studies confirmed that he could attend the college when the second semester begins a week from today.

A senior from DeMatha, Bergan averaged 22.3 points and 6.0 assists while leading Loyola to wins in three of the four games he played in the first semester. He has 416 career assists, eight shy of the Loyola record, and with his return the Greyhounds' hopes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference rise considerably.

"Today is one of the biggest days of my life," Bergan said. "I was telling some friends that today would be a fork in the road for me, and I'm happy it took the direction it did. It was hard being out, but it feels great just to be back in uniform. [Injured forward] David Credle and I were talking about what this team can do, and I think we really have a shot at winning the conference."

It's been 22 months since Bergan was teamed with senior forward Michael Reese, who had game-high totals of 22 points and 11 rebounds. Neither played last year, and Reese wasn't academically eligible in the first semester. In four games since his return, Reese has averaged 24.5 points and 9.5 rebounds, and the MAAC Player of the Week is anticipating Bergan's return.

"I love playing with him," Reese said. "He throws the best alley-oops."

Loyola's all-time worst record of 2-25 last season included a double-overtime loss at Navy a year ago today that was the next-to-last game coached by Tom Schneider. Even without Bergan, the Greyhounds had too much last night for Navy (5-6), which, like Loyola, was off to its best start in seven years.

The Greyhounds have shed last year's hesitancy and shown the ability to wear down an opponent with relentless pressure and big spurts.

"They got us into their mode," said Navy coach Don DeVoe, who rued his team's 28 turnovers. "It's disappointing because early in the game we were doing things right."

The Greyhounds fell behind 15-5 in the first six minutes but responded with a 20-2 run that included scoring from seven players. Navy was within 38-35 one minute into the second half when Loyola did it again, going on a 16-0 roll.

The bulge was 70-45 with six minutes left, before Navy rallied to make the score respectable against the Loyola bench.

Loyola's reserves, however, played a large part in the victory. Besides another routine double-double from Reese, the Greyhounds got nine points apiece from reserves Teron Owens (Catonsville), Mark Sparzak (Calvert Hall) and Ricky Wohl.

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