St. Anthony gets past Dunbar CHARM CITY CLASSIC

January 28, 1995|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

No respect.

That's been the rallying cry for No. 2 Dunbar in recent weeks. Despite a perfect record, despite blowout victory after blowout nTC victory and despite their past success against national-level competition, the Poets entered yesterday's Charm City Classic without a national ranking.

Last night, a 68-66 loss to St. Anthony of New Jersey before a sellout crowd of 3,000 at Loyola College's Reitz Arena showed the East Baltimore power just how elusive getting one might be.

After trailing by as many as 15 points in the first half, Dunbar came back and took a 43-42 third-quarter lead. But down the stretch the Poets failed to stop St. Anthony in the half-court offense and couldn't get the ball into the hands of hot-shooting forward Marvis Thornton.

"We only had two more turnovers than they did, but we didn't get the ball into Thornton's hands when we needed to," said Dunbar coach Paul Smith of his forward, who scored 17 points on 8-for-10 shooting.

"It was close enough for us to win down the stretch. We practiced press offense, we practiced man defense and we still couldn't execute when we had to."

The Poets (13-1) move to the losers' bracket for tonight's 8:45 Southeast bracket title game against the winner of last night's other semifinal between Lake Clifton and Brooklyn's Abraham Lincoln.

L For St. Anthony (13-2), however, the mood was one of relief.

After losing two games earlier this season after blowing large leads, the Friars -- who will play the winner of last night's other semifinal for the Southeast championship tonight at 8:45 -- finally pulled one out.

"When they made runs we exercised better poise than we have in the past," said Friars coach Bob Hurley.

After tying the game at 45 on Thornton's layup with 4:12 left in the third quarter, the Jersey City, N.J., school began to regain control.

It scored 12 of the next 18 points to take a 57-51 lead with six minutes left, and when Thornton (17 points, five rebounds) subsequently picked up his fourth personal -- sending the Friars into the one-and-one -- the end was near for Dunbar.

Center Robert Foster led the Poets with 22 points, while guard Anthony Perry paced St. Anthony with 24.

Things looked bleak for the Poets throughout much of the first half.

Seconds after taking a 14-13 lead on Robert Foster's layup with 1:57 left in the first quarter, Dunbar fell behind -- by as many as 15 points midway through the second quarter -- before ending the half with a 9-1 run to cut the Friars' lead to 38-31.

St. Anthony used its height to take control of the game and render the capacity crowd -- which was almost entirely pro-Dunbar -- to a stunned silence. But that crowd would soon come to life.

Dunbar continued its run to start the third quarter, and eventually took the lead. In a seven-minute span, the Poets completed a 16-point swing to take the lead.

Hurley, whose team now has faced Dunbar five times since 1990, said it was just another in a series of thrilling head-to-head matchups.

"I think you just have two teams with tradition and they're both trying to be the best they can be," he said.

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