Westminster's offense stumbles in 51-32 loss

January 26, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

The struggling Westminster Owls were looking to turn their season around with undefeated Thomas Johnson in town last night.

And although the Owls ended up on the short end of a 51-32 decision to the Patriots, it was the kind of effort that still could get things headed in the right direction.

It was a second-half offensive drought that did the Owls in. After playing even with the Central Maryland Conference-leading Patriots (11-0, 4-0) in a scrappy, defensive first half, the Owls (3-9, 1-2) managed only eight points the second half as the Patriots' pressure defense was simply too much to overcome.

The Owls played some defense of their own, limiting the Patriots -- who came in averaging 83.6 points per game -- to 51.

"I thought our defense was extremely good throughout. Our shot selection in the third quarter just wasn't very good and their defense had a lot to do with it," Westminster coach Dave Byers said.

"They make you scramble and don't allow you to run the offense you want to run."

Trailing 26-24 at the half, Westminster's Chris High scored inside to tie the game at 26 on the Owls' opening possession of the third quarter. The offense wasn't heard from the rest of the quarter as the Patriots went on a 19-0 run that went into the fourth quarter.

When Westminster's Steve Mays scored 1:30 into the final quarter, the Patriots enjoyed a 45-28 lead.

"Our biggest problem is our offense," Byers said. "To hold a team of that caliber to 51 points is a good effort, but our offense has some shortcomings and that was the difference."

Westminster was led by senior Russell DeMont, who finished the night with 13 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots despite playing most the game in foul trouble. Guard Thor Johannesson was a spark on defense with five steals.

The second quarter began with controversy and Thomas Johnson owning an 11-8 lead.

DeMont, who sat on the bench the last four-plus minutes of the first quarter with two fouls, failed to report after re-entering the game at the start of the second.

When he went to the foul line after getting fouled eight seconds into the quarter, the scorer's table notified officials that he didn't check in and the Owls were assessed a technical foul. The technical first was charged to DeMont -- also giving him his third personal -- later changed to a bench foul and reversed once again after two minutes had been played giving DeMont his third foul.

After a look at the rules during intermission, the officials reversed themselves. The third personal on DeMont was taken away, but the one made technical foul wasn't.

It turned out not to be a factor as the Patriots ran away from the Owls in the second half.

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