Rowe gives Loyola lift over Fairfield Sophomore scores 35, hits 7 of 9 three-pointers

January 26, 1998|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

Fittingly, Jason Rowe chose Super Sunday to stage a super performance at Reitz Arena yesterday.

Loyola's dynamic sophomore point guard scored a career-high 35 points, had eight assists, made four steals and hit seven of nine three-point shots in leading the Greyhounds to an 86-80 victory over Fairfield in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game.

Rowe also made six pressure free throws in the last minute to hold off the Stags after Loyola had seen a 74-59 advantage shrink to 81-78 with 45 seconds left.

Rowe, a Buffalo native, then converted two free throws only to have Fairfield forward Dareen Phillip knock home a rebound to make it 83-80 with 28 seconds remaining.

But Rowe clinched it by hitting three of four free throws and forcing Stags freshman point guard Charles Farrow into a turnover.

"Part of being a leader is stepping up and making big shots," said Rowe, possibly the premier playmaker in the state.

"I got frustrated when I saw how our big lead vanished. I pulled the team aside and said, 'We've worked too hard for over 35 minutes. Let's put these guys away.' "

Thanks to Rowe, the Hounds (8-11, 6-5) retained their poise and avenged a 92-84 loss on Jan. 6 to the Stags (8-8, 3-5).

In that game, sophomore guard John Tice led Fairfield with a career-high 28 points. This time, Ticegot into early foul trouble and was limited to 13 points in 18 minutes.

In all, it was a bizarre contest that left first-year Loyola coach Dino Gaudio shaking his head.

"In the 16 years I've been involved in coaching, I can't remember a game quite like this," he said.

Without openly criticizing the officials, Gaudio noted the 57 personal fouls they assessed that slowed the game to a crawl. Oddly, many came on illegal picks and screens, robbing the teams of any sync on offense.

But Fairfield had trouble merely handling the ball. The Stags committed 32 turnovers -- 19 coming in the first half to nullify 75 percent field-goal shooting (15-for-20) and furnish Loyola with a 44-40 lead.

Gaudio said: "The big difference between this game and the last time we played them is that we didn't let them get into their set offense."

This was mainly because of the tight policing of Rowe and senior backcourt mate Mike Powell (17 points), who also had four steals.

"The coaches told us to put more pressure on their guards, and you saw the positive results," Rowe said.

When Rowe wasn't tormenting the Stags on defense, he was demoralizing them with his long-range shooting. His seven three-pointers tied a school record set by Powell against Penn State earlier this season.

"I didn't have confidence shooting threes early in the year," he said. "But I made four of my first five today and just stuck with it. When I feel good, I just let them fly."

The Hounds, who have now put together impressive league victories over Canisius and Fairfield, enjoy six days off before playing host to Manhattan.

Pub Date: 1/26/98

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