Rice upsets Southern, 74-52, at Capital City New York team pays back No. 1 Bulldogs for past loss

Boys basketball

January 21, 1996|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

UPPER MARLBORO -- Southern-B had hoped to clear its final major hurdle last night before getting an opportunity at the nation's No. 1 ranking.

Instead a piece of history came back to haunt them. In a big way.

The top-ranked Bulldogs, ranked No. 5 by USA Today, were upset by Rice of New York City, 74-52, for the Group B championship of the Capital City Challenge at the Showplace Arena.

Tariq Kirksey led all scorers with 24 points, including five three-pointers, for Rice (10-2). Chudney Gray added 17. Dedric Galloway led Southern (8-1) with 20 points and John Hemsley had 12.

Two years ago, Southern defeated Rice, then ranked No. 1 in the country, 65-58, at the Charm City Classic, lifting the Bulldogs to the nation's No. 2 ranking where they finished at season's end.

But Rice got a measure of revenge, handing Southern its first loss as it heads into a confrontation with St. Anthony's of New Jersey, ranked No. 1 in the nation, Thursday night at the Towson Center in the First National Bank Charm City Classic.

"I just didn't have the kids ready to play," said Southern coach Meredith Smith. "It was evident in our execution on both ends of the court."

The Bulldogs found themselves behind 39-26 at halftime as Rice shot 15-of-20 from the field and beat the Bulldogs consistently in transition and half-court.

Southern made a run at the start of the second half, scoring nine straight to pull within 39-35, including consecutive three-pointers by Dedric Galloway.

With 1:58 left in the third quarter and trailing 44-37, John Hemsley picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench. A few moments later, Kirksey hit a three-pointer, pushing the lead to 10, and Southern could get no closer than nine points in the fourth quarter.

"We came out sluggish and dug a hole for ourselves," said Hemsley. "There are no excuses. We can take this loss and use it to motivate us for the rest of the season."

The Raiders gained an early 4-0 advantage as Kirksey hit the first of four three-pointers. Southern regrouped to get a 13-12 lead after two free throws by Galloway with 1:58 left in the first period.

But Rice quickly responded with eight points, including back-to-back three pointers by Gray and Kirksey for a 20-13 lead at the end of the quarter.

The Bulldogs closed to within 22-20 with 5:41 remaining in the first half, but Kirksey sandwiched a pair of three-pointers between a layup by Southern's Wayne McNeil for a 28-22 advantage.

Southern continued to struggle defensively as it was beaten for layups by Kirksey and Gray and the deficit grew to 32-22. Hemsley picked up his third foul with 3:51 left in the second quarter.

"These kids have a lot of character and we will bounce back," said Smith.

* Paterson Catholic 70, St. Frances 50: Tim Thomas, one of the top players in the nation, led all scorers with 29 points as Paterson Catholic (N.J.) defeated No. 3 St. Frances in the final of the McDonald's Classic in Erie, Pa.

Paterson Catholic built a 27-18 halftime advantage. Mark Karcher scored 24 points for St. Frances.

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