Loyola loses Rowe, then game

Standout guard suspended for academic reasons

Manhattan prevails, 70-65

January 14, 2000|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Loyola College suspended men's basketball star Jason Rowe yesterday, citing violations of its academic policy.

The school announced the decision before the team's game against Manhattan, which it lost last night, 70-65, despite 16 points from Donovan Thomas and 15 from Damien Jenifer.

"He's suspended for academic reasons," said Greyhounds coach Dino Gaudio, who declined to elaborate. Rowe couldn't be reached to comment.

Loyola (5-8, 2-3 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) wouldn't say how long Rowe was suspended.

At the end of each semester, Loyola's academic board meets to discuss the status of students whose performance doesn't meet the school's standards. The board met earlier this week to discuss Rowe, and made its decision yesterday.

Rowe -- perhaps the best non-University of Maryland player in the state and twice MVP in the Battle of Baltimore -- will be hard to replace. Averaging, 17.9 points, the senior from Buffalo, N.Y., leads the Greyhounds in scoring, assists (5.2) and steals (3.0). He also averaged 5.2 rebounds.

"I can't speak on that [Rowe] because we don't know if he's gone or not," Loyola's senior forward Blanchard Hurd said, reserving hope for Rowe's return.

Hurd said that the 19 turnovers and 54 percent free-throw shooting had more to do with the team's demise against the Jaspers (7-6, 4-1) than Rowe's absence. "We were in this game, we should have won. We turned the ball over and didn't make free throws. That killed us."

Now, instead of using a three-guard lineup of Rowe, Anthony Walker and Jenifer that accentuates the strengths of his team, Gaudio must now use a lineup heavier in the frontcourt. And the team must take care of the ball and play more consistent defense.

"We're going to have to take care of the ball better, because we're going to have to be much more efficient on offense," Gaudio said. "We're also going to have to be better on defense, because we're going to struggle a bit on offense."

Rowe's departure is only the latest void created for Loyola this season. The team was without starting guard Anthony Walker for the first five games of the season because of a hamstring injury. Then, forward Clifford Strong suffered a knee injury in the third game, eliminating what was the team's best reserve, and what could have been the team's strongest inside threat.

After looking very strong en route to its second consecutive Battle of Baltimore title, the Greyhounds have indulged in spotty play over the past 10 games.

Loyola seemed to have recovered from a 19-day layoff when it scored 101 points against Canisius last Wednesday -- its first win in more than a month -- but went back down again with a 40-percent shooting performance in a loss at St. Peter's on Saturday.

Last night, Manhattan set the tone early by going on a 10-0 run, and held a 23-8 lead when Aeneas Middleton hit a jump shot with 7: 24 left to go in the first half.

However, Loyola kept open the possibility of a comeback victory, using a 9-1 run to move within six points at 30-24 late in the first half.

Down 32-24 at halftime, the Greyhounds scored the first five points of the second half to narrow Manhattan's lead to 32-29. The Jaspers made that run a short-lived one, however, moving its lead out to as many as 12 points and allowing Loyola to get no closer than five.

Bruce Seals led Manhattan with 18 points, followed by Phil Lane with 14 and Durelle Brown with 13.

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