Delaware controls Loyola again, 86-70

January 08, 1995|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Writer

If the Hounds and the Hens were a real-life struggle, you would pick the Hounds to win every time.

But the Delaware Blue Hens continue to refute this logic on the basketball court, whipping the Loyola Greyhounds for the sixth straight time, 86-70, at Reitz Arena last night.

Employing a balanced offense led by junior forward Patrick Evans (18 points) and senior point guard Brian Pearl (17 points), Delaware ended a four-game losing streak while handing Loyola (4-7) a fifth straight defeat.

After leading 39-31 at halftime, the Blue Hens (5-5) quickly took control in the second half while the slumping Greyhounds searched in vain for a hot shooter to complement B. J. Pendleton (25 points). The starting guards, John McDonald and Darius Johnson, shot a combined 3-for-17 from the field.

Playing their third game in six days, the Greyhounds displayed signs of weariness in the second half when Delaware made good use of its experience.

"I think you saw definite signs of fatigue out there tonight," said new head coach Brian Ellerbe, who watched his team play three games in six nights.

"We've got to ask Pendleton to play a lot of minutes this season, but you could see how it took its toll in the second half," Ellerbe said. "You know when he's missing a lot of shots under the basket that he's losing his legs. But I think the whole team was going through the same thing."

Conversely, Delaware displayed new life after welcoming back junior point guard Rob Garner, who had been sidelined since the second week of practice with a fractured elbow.

With Garner out, Pearl, who is equally adept as the shooting guard, was forced to resume the playmaking role. But last night, Garner showed how important he is to the Blue Hens' future when Pearl picked up his fourth foul less than five minutes into the second half.

Delaware led 50-41 at the time, but there was no drop-off with Garner running the offense. In fact, when Pearl returned five minutes later, the visitors had actually increased their lead (57-47).

"If I had to pick one position where we couldn't lose a player, it was at point guard," said Steve Steinwedel, who has guided the Blue Hens to two North Atlantic Conference titles and a berth in the NCAA tournament the last three years. "But when we have both Pearl and Garner available, we're obviously a much stronger team."

This was evident in the way the Blue Hens consistently found the open man and high-percentage shot regardless of whether Pearl or Garner was calling the plays.

With seven minutes left, the lead ballooned to 16 points (68-52), and the Greyhounds never drew closer.

Delaware shot 61.5 percent from the field (32-for-52) in contrast to Loyola's frigid 35 percent (23-for-65). Evans was the chief benefactor of this ball movement, hitting nine of 11 shots from close range.

"Offensively, that was the best game we've played this season," said Steinwedel. "We were hitting the cutters at just the right time."

Delaware also dominated the backboards, out-rebounding Loyola, 45-31.

The prospects do not get any brighter for Loyola, which faces three straight road games against Maine, Niagara and Canisius.

"Actually, I think we play better on the road," said Ellerbe. "There's a lot less distractions, and hopefully we'll come together before coming home."

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