Rice defeats Dunbar in 2 OTs in Charm City Classic, 63-60

January 29, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

Felipe Lopez showed last night at Loyola College's Reitz Arena why he and his team are both No. 1 in the nation.

The 6-foot-5 swingman from New York's Rice High completed his surge through the stretch with a 30-foot running one-hander that beat the clock and Dunbar, 63-60, in double overtime at the Charm City Classic.

An overflow crowd of 3,100-plus was treated to a thriller that appeared headed for a third overtime when Souvenir Callwood made a steal to foil Dunbar's bid to win with a final shot.

The Raiders got the ball to Lopez, who had scored 19 points since the beginning of the fourth period. He took a dribble, then lofted it. The ball shockingly banked in to break Dunbar's heart.

"I was comfortable about the way I got the ball and the time that was left," said Lopez, considered the most coveted prospect in the nation. "It's just something that comes to you and you have to let it go. This time it went in."

At go-to time, Lopez was the go-to man for Rice (17-0), which will retain its top ranking in the USA Today Top 25 with a victory in tonight's feature against No. 4 Southern.

He had 12 fourth-quarter points, all five by the Raiders in the first overtime and six of seven in the deciding session. Lopez finished with 30 points, 17 rebounds and four steals.

"I wanted to come up and take a shot," he said. "I'm the leader of the team, so I'm the one who had to do something [during crunch time]. I never felt we were going to lose."

It was a heartbreaking ending for the Poets (11-2), whose only previous loss came against Southern under similar circumstances.

"Both teams had their chances," Dunbar coach Paul Smith said. "They gave it to us, and we gave it back to them. We just have to regroup and play better today. That's all we can do."

Dunbar will play Simon Gratz in the Southeast bracket consolation game.

Rodney Elliott (13 points, 22 rebounds) and Norman Nolan (15 points, 15 rebounds) dominated inside for the Poets, who outshot and out-rebounded Rice, but were undermined by 26 turnovers.

Lopez missed the front end of a one-and-one in the first overtime that could have clinched the victory,then another one-and-one first shot in the second overtime that would have tied the score. But Dunbar couldn't capitalize either time.

Smith said of Lopez: "When you get those accolades, you have to back them up, and he did it. We just couldn't contain him in the clutch."

The Raiders shot only 29.4 to Dunbar's 41.7 and lost the rebounding duel, 55-40.

Lopez scored the first Rice field goal, then went the rest of the first half without another, courtesy of Dunbar's defense. He added six free throws and had eight points as the Raiders took a 26-24 lead into the break.

Dunbar had command early as Lopez struggled to find his shooting range, throwing up an air ball and a wild shot that grazed the backboard. He was taken out later in the quarter

by coach Lou Demello.

The Poets shot to a 12-7 lead with Nolan scoring two baskets in close and Billy Wells adding four points on two foul shots and a conversion on a break. But Rice closed the first period with a rush, and a three-pointer by Melvin McKey gave the team a 14-12 lead.

With the score 24-24, Rice went into a deliberate offense, spreading the court to find an open shot. The consequence was an exchange of turnovers and trips to the foul line. Neither side scored from the field after Dunbar's Jeryl Singletary made a pull-up jumper off the break with three minutes left in the half.

While the Raiders played for the final shot, Lopez was fouled on an inbounds play, and he converted both shots to give Rice its two-point lead at the half.

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