EMMITSBURG -- Mount St. Mary's Chris McGuthrie is listed as 6 feet 7 in the just-released "1996 Official NCAA Basketball Records Book." That's quite a stretch, though the confusion probably stems from the senior guard's penchant for coming up big.
He did it again yesterday, scoring 12 of his 32 points in less than three minutes of the second half, as the Mountaineers fought off Loyola, 83-73, at Knott Arena in the 150th meeting between the schools.
McGuthrie, who stands 5-9, had 20 points after halftime, and they all seemed to come at crucial times. Loyola had gone on an 8-2 run to reduce the Mount's lead to 42-38 when McGuthrie struck, hitting from beyond the arc and converting a three-point play on a baseline drive. He made another three-pointer for a 51-40 lead, and after the Greyhounds scored five straight, McGuthrie passed to Jeff Balistrere for a three-pointer, then made a layup and free throw for a 57-45 bulge.
His two free throws with 10:26 left increased the lead to 62-47. And when Loyola closed within seven points with two minutes remaining, McGuthrie took a pass from Silas Cheung off a turnover for a breakaway layup.
"We're kind of used to that [from McGuthrie]," said coach Jim Phelan, whose team has won three straight after an 0-2 start. "We were trying to get four or five passes before we took a shot, but when a guy's on a hot roll . . ."
The NCAA got one thing right about McGuthrie -- he's the second-leading active scorer in Division I with 1,767 points, trailing Vermont's Eddie Benton, who began the season with 1,838. McGuthrie passed Kevin Booth and Jim Rowe yesterday for fourth place on the Mount's all-time scoring list.
His first six points came on layups, as the Mountaineers took advantage of some nifty passing and 14 first-half turnovers by Loyola (1-5). He hit an open jumper with about three minutes left for a 31-21 lead and made a fallaway jumper and layup in the final minute after the Greyhounds had drawn within four.
Each time Loyola made a run, as when the Mount went almost six minutes without a basket in the second half, the Greyhounds would either self-destruct or get burned by the hosts' long-range shooting. Loyola committed 24 turnovers and had only five assists on its 27 field goals.
"I'm just waiting to see if we're going to give ourselves the opportunity to win a basketball game," said second-year coach Brian Ellerbe, who received 25 points from sophomore Mike Powell and 19 points and 12 rebounds from freshman Nsilo Abraham. "We had two guys who busted their tails and played well, and I feel bad for them. We had nobody else step up."
The Mount's strength is in its backcourt. That's why Loyola needed its two sophomore guards, Powell and John McDonald, to stay healthy yesterday. McDonald had injured his right knee in last weekend's loss to Notre Dame, and Powell later went down with a groin strain.
Both players started against the Mount. Powell, in obvious pain as he went to the bench briefly in the first half, got the Greyhounds back in the game after the Mount had built a 26-14 lead. He drove the lane and put in a left-handed scoop shot, then scored off the glass.
Teron Owens came off the bench and scored eight points in the last five minutes, as Loyola got the lead down to 36-30 at halftime. He had to leave with 6:35 left in the game after being poked in the eye, joining freshman Roderick Platt, who had injured his right hand while taking a charge earlier in the half.
Inge had 14 points for the Mount, and freshman walk-on Tony Hayden added 10.
"We kept letting them off the hook," Phelan said of the Greyhounds, losers of five in a row. "It was one of those games where you never really felt threatened, but you were never safe."