Hot first half sends Loyola past St. Maria Goretti

January 29, 1996|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

St. Maria Goretti coach Cokey Robertson said playing two strong halves is important. But No. 4 Loyola showed the Gaels yesterday that sometimes one good half can be enough.

Loyola hit 60 percent of its shots in the first half and built an 18-point lead. But despite making five baskets and scoring 15 points in the second half, the Dons held on for a 51-47 victory over visiting St. Maria Goretti in a Catholic League game.

The Dons dominated the first half, hitting 15 of 25 from the field and taking a 36-18 lead at the break. Loyola (14-4, 3-1) scored 30 of the half's final 39 points.

Loyola got hot in the second quarter. The Dons -- sparked bMike Sutphin, Jason Vogtman and Matt Neumayer -- hit their first six shots from the field and and eight of 11 overall to stretch their lead.

"We played a good, solid first half," said Loyola coach Jerry Savage, whose team held Goretti to five second-quarter points.

But Goretti (15-8, 3-3) changed things in the second half. The Gaels used different presses and traps that often disrupted the Loyola offense. Goretti's pressure forced 11 second-half turnovers.

The Dons went stretches of 3:51, 3:28 and 2:11 without a point, allowing the Gaels to creep back into the game. Loyola went 5-for-20 from the field and scored only six points in the third quarter and nine in the fourth.

"We had a tough time with their press and their trap," said Vogtman, who finished with a team-high 14 points. "We never could set up the offense the way we wanted to."

Goretti, behind Kyle Logan (17 points), Phil Lane (16 points) and Jay Piccolomini (12 points), cut the Loyola lead to three points three times in the fourth quarter. The Gaels, who defeated Loyola earlier in the season, also had some chances to tie the score.

But the Dons got key free throws from Vogtman and Adam Shigley to stay in front.

"Our shot selection was not good, and our our defense let them have good looks," said Robertson. "We've got to play two good halves."

GORETTI -- Lane 16, Piccolomini 12, Logan 17, Thomas 2. Totals: 6-8 47.

LOYOLA -- Sutphin 13, Shigley 7, Vogtman 14, Neumayer 11, Burch 6. Totals: 20 8 -15 51.

$Goretti 13 5 18 11 -- 47

Loyola .18 18 6 9 -- 51

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