St. Peter's blocks bid by Reese, Loyola

February 03, 1994|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Sun Staff Writer

Since his return to the lineup 12 games ago after a two-year layoff, Loyola center Michael Reese has been the key to the Greyhounds' rebirth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

But even Reese, who had a game-high 28 points, couldn't wipe out the effects of a second-half offensive drought and poor free-throw shooting, factors that combined to hand St. Peter's a 90-87 overtime win over Loyola at Reitz Arena last night.

The Greyhounds (10-7, 3-4) made up an 11-point deficit in the last four minutes of regulation to force the overtime, but ultimately could not overcome the weight of a five-minute second-half scoreless string and a 28-for-43 free-throw performance.

"We had a hard time scoring at times and that's a credit to their defense, but they're not playing defense at the foul line," said Loyola coach Skip Prosser.

The Peacocks (12-8, 6-2), who claimed sole possession of the MAAC lead, hardly looked like profiles in courage down the stretch, turning the ball over three times and missing six foul shots in the final 2:33 after they led 76-64.

tTC "I thought we played 37 minutes and 30 seconds of pretty good ball," said St. Peter's coach Ted Fiore. "That wasn't one of our strongest finishes."

The Peacocks ultimately passed their test of nerves thanks to senior guard Antoine Allen, who scored five of his 25 points in the overtime to atone for missing five straight free throws down ++ the stretch.

Reese played well, when he wasn't in foul trouble, and hit the two free throws with 14 seconds left in regulation that tied the game and eventually forced the overtime.

However, his bid to win the game with a drive to the basket with less than 30 seconds to play in the overtime was blocked.

Forward B. J. Pendleton had led the Loyola comeback, with five points in the last two minutes. His three-point play with 1:40 left pulled the Greyhounds within three at 77-74.

However, he missed the first of two free throws with eight seconds left in the overtime and the Greyhounds trailing by two. St. Peter's Brian Griffith, who had 23 points off the bench, was fouled and hit two free throws to seal the win.

The Peacocks' last loss was to Loyola in Jersey City on Jan. 17 in a 70-63 decision in which Loyola guard Tracy Bergan scored a season-high 30 points.

However, last night, a combination of good St. Peter's defense, frustration and foul trouble limited Bergan to 16 points before he fouled out with 3:18 remaining.

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