Up 24 points, Liberty ekes out win

January 19, 1995|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Staff Writer

The wear and tear of a long season was written all over Scott Kohr's face last night as he talked about how his Liberty team had won for only the third time in 13 games.

Like everything else for the Liberty coach this season, it wasn't easy as the Lions nearly blew a 24-point third-quarter lead but were able to hold off a rallying North Carroll team for a 77-71 victory at North Carroll.

"We just stopped scoring," said Kohr. "I think our starters thought the game was over."

Kohr went with his starting lineup at the start of the fourth quarter after the reserves had played the last four minutes of the third quarter when the Liberty lead ballooned to 54-34.

With the subs in the game, the Lions (3-10, 1-1 in the county) stretched the advantage to 58-34 with 3:20 left in that period.

But the Panthers reduced the lead to 64-47 at the end of the third quarter and fought back in the fourth quarter despite the presence of the Liberty starters.

Liberty's top scorers, Jeff Janyska (20 points, Tyrone Ellis (17) and James Lee (10), all suddenly went cold from the field.

With Barrett Gugliotta (15 points) and Scott Hensley (16) combining for three three-pointers in the first 2:26 of the fourth quarter, North Carroll was down only 66-56, and Hensley cut farther into the deficit when he scored in the lane to make the score 66-58 with 4:50 remaining.

North Carroll (3-10, 0-2) continued its 10-0 run when Jason Gelb (13 points) powered his way inside for a layup and a 66-60 deficit with

four minutes left.

That was enough for Kohr to call a timeout and give his players some angry words of encouragement.

James Lee responded with a bank shot for a 68-60 lead, but North Carroll fought back to 71-67 with 1:07 remaining when Jason Glover (10 points) dropped in a layup and was fouled.

Glover missed the free throw but North Carroll answered Luke Vriezen's two free throws with a Gelb jump shot with 51 seconds on the clock to remain four down at 73-69.

North Carroll never got off a shot on its next two possessions as Lee and Vriezen stole passes from junior guard Roger Bauer, enabling Ellis to score the final four points.

"It was a typical North Carroll performance where they lull you to sleep and then find a way to make it close at the end," said Kohr. "We were up and down the whole game in terms of performance and that is because we have so much inexperience."

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