Gibbons cruises by Loyola, 60-53


February 07, 1994|By Bob Clark | Bob Clark,Special to The Sun

HAGERSTOWN — It had been a difficult week for coach Ray Mullis and his Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders, but senior forward Jerard Rucker came up with the cure-all performance yesterday at Loyola.

Rucker, who had a game-high 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds, made the first three field goals of the fourth quarter to give Gibbons some breathing room. Do-everything guard Steve Wojciechowski, fighting a stomach virus and an unusual off-shooting day, turned in a gutsy all-around show to help snap the Crusaders (17-6 overall, 7-2 in the Catholic League) out of their doldrums with a 60-53 victory over the Dons (10-12, 2-6).

The Crusaders had dropped their first two Catholic League games of the season during the past week, and after the loss to St. Maria Goretti on Friday, they had fallen from the top of the Catholic League for the first time this season.

But they opened with a renewed vigor against the Dons yesterday, building a 15-point first-quarter lead. Loyola never drew closer than five points after that.

"It was a great defensive effort," said Mullis. "I thought we might have taken Loyola out of the game early, but they really picked it up."

Loyola managed to cut that lead to 46-41 at the end of the third quarter, but Rucker hit a short bank shot to open the fourth quarter, and after Loyola squandered a pair of one-and-one foul situations, Rucker made a pair of baseline jumpers to put the Crusaders ahead 52-42.

"Loyola had the momentum after the third quarter, but we got a stop and Jerard hit some big baskets," said Mullis.

With that 52-42 lead, Wojciechowski, who finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals, took over the game in the closing minutes.

"It was the same thing in the first game [Gibbons won, 68-51]," said Loyola coach Jerry Savage. "When they get the lead, Wojciechowski can control the game.

"The thing that really hurt us was the first quarter. Gibbons was just beating us down the court. They really get after you on defense and play hard. We put ourselves in a big hole."

After battling on even terms through the first four minutes of the game, the Crusaders ran off 10 consecutive points in a two-minute spurt to take a 14-4 lead.

Jake Davalli started the run with a three-pointer. Then when Rucker made a steal on the ensuing Dons possession, he fed Ryan Beaumont for what became a three-point play. Drives through the lane by Rick Fuller and Rucker gave Gibbons a 10-point lead with 2:31 left in the first quarter.

After a Tim O'Hara tap-in ended the Gibbons run, the Crusaders ran off the next seven points in less than a minute. Wojciechowski, who made only five of 17 field-goal attempts, hit a three-pointer and then scored after one of his steals. Two baskets by Rucker gave the visitors a 23-8 lead after one quarter.

In the second quarter, Loyola bounced back behind Reggie Boyce, who had a team-high 16 points.

Mount St. Joe 78, St. Maria Goretti 56

HAGERSTOWN -- Senior guard Kenny Krabitz scored 21 points as Mount St. Joseph (7-10, 2-5) upset St. Maria Goretti (14-6, 5-2) in a Catholic League game.

Calvert Hall 43, Towson Catholic 38

Calvert Hall (13-9, 5-3) capitalized on Towson Catholic's 19 turnovers and senior forward Brian Taylor scored 19 to lift the visiting Cardinals over Towson Catholic (2-11, 1-5) in a Catholic League game.

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