Fla. State wears out Loyola in 89-72 win Second-half meltdown spoils debut for Gaudio

November 18, 1997|By Kevin Record | Kevin Record,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Dino Gaudio knew better, but he wasn't about to make a major philosophical change for his debut as Loyola basketball coach.

On his watch, the Greyhounds will run and press no matter how athletic the opposition might be.

Last night, a talented Florida State squad often thrived against that style, as it posted an 89-72 victory over Loyola in the first round of the Preseason NIT.

"We wanted to press and take advantage of our athleticism," Gaudio said. "But they had the better athletes."

The game's most telling stat? FSU scored 27 points off Loyola's 21 turnovers.

The Greyhounds, who shot 37.5 percent from the field, were led by sophomore guard Jason Rowe's 24 points. But Rowe made just four of 16 field-goal attempts and committed a game-high eight turnovers.

Senior guard Mike Powell added 19 for Loyola. Freshman forward Jamal Hunter had 14 and junior center Roderick Platt had 13.

Loyola's bench accounted for a total of two points.

FSU, which shot 51 percent from the field, was led by junior forward Randell Jackson's 25 points and six rebounds.

"I think it was a great game for us," FSU first-year coach Steve Robinson said. "We learned some things. For the most part, we made good decisions against their pressure and that's why we won the basketball game."

Gaudio obviously would have preferred to begin his career against a lesser opponent, especially since five of his top eight players are freshmen.

"Having 20-some practices to get ready for the first game is ridiculous," Gaudio said. "Until last week, we still had some guys who had a hard time finding where the gym was, but we'll get there.

"And this was a very difficult environment for our kids to open up in. I can only hope that it will really help us down the road. What I liked most was that our kids competed hard. They didn't quit."

Loyola, in fact, was still very much in a position to pull off the upset until a brutal stretch that spanned the final 31 seconds of the third quarter and the first 2: 25 of the fourth quarter.

The Seminoles closed the third with eight unanswered points -- three each by Jackson and Lamarr Greer and two by Ron Hale -- for a 66-51 lead. They opened the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run.

Loyola, which committed six turnovers during the decisive stretch, cut the lead to nine points with 1: 16 remaining but couldn't get any closer.

Loyola led only twice in the game -- at 3-2 and 9-8. FSU led by as many as nine in the first half and never took full control until its third-quarter run.

"Florida State is a great basketball team," Gaudio said. "I hope we're not too wounded by getting beaten by 17. I hope we can come out of this with something positive. Hopefully, our pressure will get better as the season goes on."

Pub Date: 11/18/97

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