BayRunners watch another get away

Late 10-point lead turns into OT loss vs. Slam, 111-107

January 18, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Usually, when two teams go to overtime, one is happy to get there and the other feels it should have won in regulation.

Three times earlier this season, the BayRunners were the team feeling it should have won in regulation, and eventually lost. That trend didn't change yesterday against New Mexico, as the BayRunners gave up a 10-point fourth-quarter lead en route to a 111-107 overtime loss to the Slam before 3,871 at Baltimore Arena.

The BayRunners had been playing some of their best basketball of the year until about five minutes remained in the fourth quarter, when the Slam went on a 15-5 run led by Jason Sasser and Andre Perry. The home team had a chance to win at the buzzer, but guard Monty Wilson's shot failed to reach the rim.

"We were up four or five with like a minute left," said forward Lonnie Harrell, who tied for the team lead with 22 points. "Instead of being aggressive and attacking teams, we stay back and let them throw the first punch."

Sasser also did in the BayRunners in overtime, hitting a three-pointer with 28 seconds left, giving the Slam a 105-104 lead.

Sasser (17 points) got a steal on the BayRunners' next possession, was fouled and made two free throws to give New Mexico a 107-104 lead with 20 seconds remaining.

"He was just killing us all night," Sasser said of Harrell. "I was waiting on my help, and he brought the ball down so low that I just went for it.

"On the three, I just ran straight to the corner and our point guard, Corey Brewer, penetrated, kicked it out to me, and I just let it go."

Harrell missed a shot in the paint that would have cut the lead to one with 10 seconds left and was forced to foul Slam guard Keith Carter, who put the game away with two free throws.

The BayRunners (7-15) got a lot of help from their bench, which produced 50 points, including 16 from center Mark Blount. The bench was the main reason they were able to stay with one of the best teams in the league in New Mexico (14-6), which has battled St. Louis for first place in the West Division most of the season.

"Our bench scored us some points, but they gave up some points, too," BayRunners coach Herb Brown said. "Lonnie and Mark did a great job."

Blount did especially well filling in for Brent Dabbs, who had his worst game since joining the team. He failed to score, grabbed only four rebounds and fouled out near the end of regulation.

Dabbs, whose leadership and rebounding were missed most in overtime, had recorded double doubles in four of his previous five games.

The BayRunners were also without Shawnta Rogers, who missed his third straight game because of the flu.

"We scored a lot of points, enough to win, but we just came up short in the fourth quarter," Brown said.

"I'm more disappointed in the fact that we lost the lead. And that's because we didn't come down and execute. We took off-balance shots; shots where nobody knew we were going to shoot."

Slam 26 24 22 21 18 -- 111

BayRunners 27 23 25 18 14 -- 107

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