Loyola's early hopes dashed by Siena, 92-79 Hounds can't maintain 65 percent 1st-half shooting

January 15, 1998|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

An indication that Loyola was in trouble in its game at home against Siena last night arrived with the first-half statistics sheet. The Greyhounds were shooting a blazing 65 percent to Siena's 35, yet led by only 42-40.

A couple of minutes into the second half, seemingly aware of what was expected by coach Pat Hewitt, Siena took off on a 20-7 run, pushed it to 30-12 and beat Loyola (6-9, 4-3 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), 92-79.

It didn't really matter what the Hounds did defensively in the final 20 minutes; the visiting Saints (8-4, 3-1) had the answer. Inside, they riddled the home team. When the inside was closed off, any one of three or four players stepped back and dropped a three-pointer.

"We figured going in that we could do something inside," said Hewitt, "because we expected them to be running at our perimeter shooters the way we've been shooting [expertly].

"We didn't get it done in the first half as [Rod] Platt is strong and he was doing a good job for them. But, after a while, our tempo set it up for us."

The Siena tempo starts fast, then picks up. "If we don't play all out, we're an average team," said Hewitt.

The Saints were far from average on this occasion. They spread the scoring around with five players in double figures, three of them coming off the bench.

All 10 players they used scored and all had at least one rebound.

Perhaps just as important as the offensive explosion was the job Siena did on Mike Powell. A combination of players held Powell, the second-leading scorer in the country with a 26.2 average, to 17 before he fouled out with nearly seven minutes remaining.

It was 80-68 at the time, so the dye appeared cast. That many points in arrears, Loyola's only hope lay in committing fouls, and Siena just so happens to lead the country in free-throw percentage at 81 percent.

The Saints were far below that last night, hitting just 21-for-35, but they were back on the beam when needed, hitting seven of their last eight.

After their hot, 17-for-26 shooting in the first half, the Greyhounds cooled to 11 of 29 in the final 20 minutes. They were led by Jason Rowe with 21, and Platt finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds, a couple of career highs for him.

Pub Date: 1/15/98

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