St. Frances surges past Mt. St. Joseph

Panthers open second half with 17 consecutive points, hold off Gaels, 53-49

Boys basketball

January 10, 2000|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Feeling his team was dogging it on defense and letting Mount St. Joseph dictate the tempo in the first half yesterday, St. Frances coach William Wells said he held little back during his halftime speech.

"We had to do a little swearing in the locker room to get their heads back focused about what we were here for," Wells said.

The message apparently got through, as the ninth-ranked Panthers scored 17 straight points to open the second half and went on to hold off the 11th-ranked Gaels, 53-49, in a Catholic League game at the University of Baltimore.

Still, it took a late surge to put away the resilient Gaels, who used a 22-7 run of their own to take a 49-48 lead on a pair of foul shots by Tim Gilman with 1: 40 left. But those would be the last points they would score, as Jamal Jacobs answered with a 15-footer and put-back to help secure the win.

"We knew we had to step it up," said Timothy Payne, who scored a game-high 16 points. "We weren't playing our game the way we like to play it. We just came out [after halftime] and played as a team."

Trailing by as many as eight in the first half, the Panthers (9-2, 2-0) cut the lead to 27-24 by halftime on a three-pointer and pair of foul shots by guard Tavon McKoy (14 points) to end the half.

When McKoy opened the third quarter with consecutive layups, St. Frances had a 28-27 lead.

The Gaels (12-3, 1-1) struggled from the field all day against the Panthers' intense half-court set, shooting just 29 percent, including three of 14 from three-point range.

"The best thing we could do was not give them the side-open shots or let them set picks," said Jacobs. "We were just trying to hold them down."

After going without a field goal for 11 minutes, however, Mount St. Joseph battled back. Led by 6-foot-8 center Kevin Mickens (10 points), forward Marcus Johnson (eight) and guard J. J. Outlaw (seven), the Gaels got hot from the field and scored nine straight points to cut the lead to three, then tied the game at 45 on Corey Copeland's driving layup with 3: 02 left.

Down the stretch, however, St. Frances won out with defense.

"We told our guys at halftime that this game was going to come down to who wanted it the most," said Gaels coach Pat Clatchey. "They took the initiative in the third quarter and we struggled to score. We did bounce back and take the lead, but it just comes down to making some plays. We took a couple quick shots at the end."

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