St. Joseph's wears down Greyhounds

January 03, 1995|By Jon Marks | Jon Marks,Special to The Sun

PHILADELPHIA -- St. Joseph's hadn't played since losing two games in the Wyoming Tournament to unheralded Mississippi State and Monmouth, but Loyola coach Brian Ellerbe said he knew his Greyhounds would have their hands full for yesterday's game against the Hawks.

"They were going to that tournament in Wyoming thinking they could win it," said Ellerbe after the taller, deeper Hawks struggled early, then jumped all over the Greyhounds and rolled to an 83-53 victory. "But when you lose in the first round [to Mississippi State], it's probably tough to get your kids up for the consolation round and they lost that one, too.

"So you know they're going to have some grueling practices after that. I prepared our kids for that. I told them they needed to meet that aggressiveness."

The message was briefly heeded, but St. Joseph's went on a 15-2 spree midway through the first half to take a 20-13 lead, pushed it to 35-24 by the half, and blew it open early in the `D second half. "They played pretty well, but a lot of it was us," said Ellerbe.

Loyola (4-5) was victimized by 34 percent shooting, and got pounded on the boards, 45-29, by the nation's best team in rebounding margin (43.5-29.3).

"We didn't make a game of it in the second half," Ellerbe said. "It was our entire game. We were not active enough. Not aggressive enough. I wish I knew why. I was expecting us to play well, but we didn't do anything today. At least at Maryland [a 92-62 loss] we competed for 18 minutes."

Loyola started well against the Hawks (4-2). Matt Gabriel's baseline jumper gave Loyola an 11-5 lead at the seven-minute HTC mark, and the Greyhounds were feeling pretty good about their chances.

Not for long, though.

"We had some momentum," but we lost our enthusiasm after they made a little run," said Darius Johnson, who with 10 points was one of three Greyhounds in double figures.

And when the Hawks, led by Bernard Blunt's 13 points, went on a 15-5 tear to start the second half and open a 51-30 advantage, Ellerbe and Loyola knew it was time to start thinking of Thursday's trip to South Bend, Ind., against Notre Dame.

"The second half we didn't do what we were supposed to do," said Ellerbe, who got 13 points from B. J. Pendleton, but missed 6-foot-7 David Credle, who will be out two weeks recovering from knee surgery. "You don't give yourself a chance to win when you start a half that way."

All 13 of Blunt's points came in the second half, giving him 1,333 in his career, eight short of the school record.

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