Swarm is all over BayRunners, 88-81

St. Louis guard Johnson scores game-high 23

January 28, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

For a little more than three minutes, the BayRunners let St. Louis Swarm guard Danny Johnson make his highlight tape.

It included just about everything he possibly would want an NBA scout to see -- two three-pointers, a monster dunk, two steals, a 15-foot jumper and a penetration layup.

When Johnson was finished, he had accounted for 15 points in a 17-0 Swarm run that basically ended the night in the third quarter for the BayRunners and led to an eventual 88-81 win before 2,521 at Baltimore Arena last night.

The BayRunners play again tonight at home against Cincinnati at 7: 30.

"I personally think Danny can play on then next level," Swarm coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "There is no doubt in my mind.

"In that run, he was terrific. What was more important was that the guys were setting screens for him and getting him the ball in his rhythm. I thought our execution was good. We've got guys who would sacrifice their bodies in order to set screens."

The game was close throughout the first half with St. Louis taking a 46-42 halftime lead.

The BayRunners looked ready to cut a 49-46 Swarm lead to one with seven minutes left in the third period before things got out of control, and Johnson took over.

Johnson hit a three-pointer on the Swarm's ensuing possession, then followed with another three.

He then stole the inbounds pass at halfcourt and went in for an uncontested layup. He made a jumper on the Swarm's next possession to finish off a personal 10-0 run. The 17-0 overall run opened up a 66-46 lead with 2: 50 left in the third.

"I'd been struggling offensively for the first half," said Johnson, who finished with a game-high 23 points.

"Luckily things came around in the third quarter. We got a lead and were able to win the game."

While Johnson was putting on a show, the BayRunners were missing shots. Bad shots, mostly jumpers from the outside. The team finished with 10 points in the period.

"I'm sorry to say, but to me this is just a lack of effort," said BayRunners guard Monty Wilson, who led the team with 19 points.

"We don't go out and execute. We have a lot of guys who try and take things on their own, not pointing at no specific person. At particular times, we don't run our offense. And we don't have guys who give their full effort."

The BayRunners did mount a desperate run near the end of the game that served to cut a 23-point lead to five with 11 seconds left.

But BayRunners coach Herb Brown said his team really lost the game in the third quarter.

"We didn't compete in that third quarter," Brown said.

"I'm really disappointed. I think there was a little less than four minutes left in the quarter, and we had four points. And that was the game."

NOTES: The BayRunners waived guard Charles Thomas and activated guard LaBradford Smith from the injured list. Thomas was tied for fourth place in the league in three-point shooting percentage (43.8). Tonight's game against the Stuff is "Rodney Elliott Day." Students with a Dunbar ID are admitted free.

BayRunners tonight

Opponent: Cincinnati Stuff

Site: Baltimore Arena

Time: 7: 30

Outlook: The BayRunners are in search of their first victory against the Stuff. Tonight marks the second of back-to-back games against the East leader. Cincinnati forward Tremaine Fowlkes is fourth in the International Basketball League in scoring, averaging 19.6 points, and second in in rebounding, 10.1 a game. The BayRunners lead the IBL in three-point shooting percentage (41.7).

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