Loyola scores last 13, wins by 10 Zone foils St. Peter's

MAAC race tightens

February 05, 1996|By Jamison Hensley DTC | Jamison Hensley DTC,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

In Monday's editions, a Loyola basketball player was incorrectly identified in a photo. The player was Duane Johnson.

The Sun regrets the errors.

Ask Loyola coach Brian Ellerbe about his zone defense and he grins slyly. Question Greyhounds guard Mike Powell about it and he takes a long pause before answering.

Neither Ellerbe nor Powell would give specifics, but the results were clear.

Loyola's enigmatic defense shut out St. Peter's for the final 5 1/2 minutes, helping the Greyhounds pull away to a 70-60 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference victory before 1,450 at Reitz Arena yesterday.


The Greyhounds (8-10, 5-2), who squandered an early 12-point lead, have won seven of their past 10 games and are within a game of league-leading Iona.

It's the first Loyola sweep of St. Peter's, the preseason MAAC favorite, in four seasons.

Down 60-57, the Greyhounds increased their activity in their zone, stealing the ball off double teams and stepping into passing lanes. As a result of its defensive pressure, Loyola scored the last 13 points of the game, forced six turnovers and kept the Peacocks scoreless on just four shots in the final 5 1/2 minutes.

St. Peter's (12-7, 3-4), the defending MAAC tournament champion, managed only two field goals during the last 10 1/2 minutes.

"It's a working man's defense," Ellerbe said. "Nobody really knows what it is. It's basically a 3-2 zone, but the slides are a lot different. We worked well in it the first few minutes, and then we sloughed off. Maybe this team likes close games or they like to see me worry."

St. Peter's leading scorer and rebounder Luis Arrosa received a technical foul 6 1/2 minutes into the game with Loyola ahead 11-8. Peacocks coach Roger Blind sat Arrosa for the remainder of the game for what Blind called "a lesson."

Powell hit one of the two free throws for the technical and converted a running, 10-foot jump shot on the extra possession to stake Loyola to a 14-8 lead.

Powell, who scored a game-high 22 points, made a short jumper at 7:23 to give the Greyhounds their biggest lead at 27-15. But the Peacocks stormed back in the second half with a 14-2 run that focused primarily on feeding the ball inside.

Michael Chaplin's turnaround jumper with 15:01 remaining put St. Peter's ahead 43-41. The Peacocks couldn't extend their lead past six points, and Loyola chipped away, taking the lead for good with 3:47 left on two free throws by Powell.

"During the game, we got tired and relaxed," said Powell, who has scored 20 or more points eight times this season. "The freshmen and myself have a tendency to think the game is over. In a timeout with about five minutes left, Coach told us to turn it up another level."

The defensive intensity charged Loyola to a season-best 14 steals and forced St. Peter's to turn the ball over a season-high 22 times.

The defense also created easy baskets for the Greyhounds, who shot a season-high 51.2 percent (22-for-43) and became only the third team to eclipse 70 points against the Peacocks, who rank 12th in the nation in scoring defense.

"It was a disastrous effort for us," said Blind, whose Peacocks have beaten Seton Hall and Alabama and lost to No. 3 Kansas by 14.

"I don't want to discredit Loyola's defense, but we didn't give ourselves the chance to win."

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