New Lloyd a big assist to Syracuse

January 31, 1995|By KEN ROSENTHAL

LANDOVER -- The new Michael Lloyd took only 10 shots last night. Called an alert timeout with two minutes left. Dished and penetrated and more or less resembled the point guard Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim wants him to be.

The old Michael Lloyd?

Fear not, he made the trip, too.

There he was, pointing to friends from Baltimore with 1:32 left. Embracing teammate Lawrence Moten after the final buzzer. Criticizing Georgetown freshman Allen Iverson in the aftermath of Syracuse's 76-75 victory at USAir Arena.

"He's pretty good," Lloyd said. "He got a lot of opportunities to score. But I don't know if he's concerned most about winning. The main thing is, I want to win. He had 25. But he left with a loss. It's about team. It's about winning. That's what I'm about."

No one ever disputed that, not at Dunbar High, not at San Jacinto Junior College and certainly not now at Syracuse. But Lloyd has been known to succumb to his emotions, and now Boeheim wants him to suppress his passion for scoring, too.

Iverson got his 25 points last night, and Lloyd scored only 10 on 3-for-10 shooting in this showdown of Big East point guards. Lloyd also had twice as many assists as Iverson (six) and half as many turnovers (two). That matters, too.

Syracuse won because Georgetown was Georgetown, shooting 38.7 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from the free-throw line. But they also won because Lloyd controlled the game in the final two minutes, a time when the Orangemen frequently crumble.

He called the timeout on his back to avoid a turnover with Syracuse leading by one point. He then beat Iverson to the basket and missed a reverse layup, setting up two free throws by John Wallace that gave the Orangmen a three-point lead with 1:42 left.

The lead went to five when Lloyd hit Lucious Jackson for a layup with 56 seconds left, and back to five again when he pulled an old Dunbar stunt, catching a full-court inbounds pass from Wallace and converting a layup with 35 seconds left.

Iverson hit a three at the buzzer to make it a one-point game, but by then Syracuse was already celebrating. Moten, the senior guard from Washington, pumped his fists and pointed to fans at both ends of the court with 2.7 seconds left. Lloyd, of all people, reminded him, "It ain't over."

At the end, Moten put his arm around Lloyd and paraded him around the court. "It was a homecoming for me, but it was more special for Lawrence," Lloyd said. "It was his last time around. I was trying to feed off him, get him into the offense."

Moten responded by leading Syracuse with 19 points. He liked Lloyd at the start of the season, and he likes him even better now. "It's gone really well," he said. "Mike came here as a scorer, but he's doing other things to help the team be successful. We're roommates. We talk to each other a lot. That's big."

Moten said Lloyd is doing "everything he's asked to do," and Lloyd said, "I felt comfortable the day I signed." Boeheim, naturally, offered a more pessimistic view. Lloyd, a 6-foot-2 junior, is averaging 12.9 points and 5.0 assists. But to hear Boeheim tell it, he's still learning.

"I still don't think he's quite comfortable with what I want him to do," Boeheim said. "He's still trying to find his way. He's used to taking 18-20 shots. He's done that all his life. It's a difficult adjustment. For us to be successful, he can't do that."

Boeheim pointed to Lloyd's first college game, when he scored a season-high 27 points against George Washington, including a three-pointer that sent the game into overtime. Lloyd took 19 shots that night. Too many, Boeheim said.

"It wasn't just his fault we lost. Our defense was pathetic," Boeheim said. "But we talked. He realized he's got to get the ball to people. He's done that. He's proven he can score. He's got to prove now that he can run a team and be a point guard.

"That's his future in the game," Boeheim continued. "The NBA doesn't want point guards to shoot the ball. They want point guards to run the team and score when they have to."

Lloyd might be brash, but he's also pragmatic, and understands that he won't play in the NBA unless he improves his point-guard skills. That's one reason he chose Syracuse, the school that produced Pearl Washington and Sherman Douglas.

At this point, he still has played only 18 games at the major-college level. He said last night's game wasn't more meaningful than any other, but he was yapping at Iverson a minute into the game. Iverson drove right past him on Georgetown's next possession.

Syracuse mixed zone with man-to-man, so Iverson wasn't only Lloyd's responsibility. Whatever, it was Lloyd's team that won, won on the road, won after trailing by nine points in the first half.

Afterward, Lloyd wandered into the stands, where dozens of friends and relatives were waiting. Former Dunbar teammate Keith Booth was there, along with his Maryland teammates, Joe Smith and Duane Simpkins.

Lloyd, still wearing his Syracuse warm-ups, spoke briefly with Booth, and greeted Simpkins warmly. Simpkins, of course, is the point guard whose job Lloyd would have threatened had he chosen to attend Maryland.

Lloyd sat down in Section 118, holding a portable compact-disc player, finding time for everyone, speaking quietly. "They won't let us down," one friend pleaded. "They can't stand it when you come up and beat them here."

The new Michael Lloyd said nothing.

The new Michael Lloyd just smiled.

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