Not too late, BayRunners slam

Lee, Elliott hit 3-pointers to force OT

turnovers end New Mexico's shot, 117-113

February 20, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

BayRunners coach Terry Truax pointed to last night's game against New Mexico as the one that would tell him what kind of team he had.

The verdict? One that may be able to challenge the elite teams in the International Basketball League.

The BayRunners (11-21) came from behind twice last night to win their most thrilling game of the season, a 117-113 overtime victory over the Slam before 7,944, the second-largest crowd of the season at Baltimore Arena.

"This is a step in the right direction for us," Truax said. "Hopefully it will give us confidence. I'm happy for every one in the BayRunners organization."

The BayRunners were 0-4 in overtime, all at home, and looked like they were headed for No. 5 when the Slam (21-14) started the period on a 6-0 run.

But the BayRunners came back to take the lead when forward Anthony Tucker made his second free throw to give them a 114-113 lead.

After a defensive stand, Shawnta Rogers got fouled, and made one of two free throws to put the BayRunners up by two.

Tucker then stole the Slam's inbounds pass, got fouled and made both free throws with 1.5 seconds left.

"It seemed like before, we would panic and get nervous," said Rogers, who scored a game-high 31 points. "Then games would just slip away from us. Now we know how to handle it. If we get a couple of more wins like that, then we will be on our way."

The game was sent into overtime thanks to two late three-pointers. Kurk Lee hit the first three-pointer in the waning seconds, cutting the Slam lead to 105-104. After Keith Carter made two free throws for the Slam, BayRunners forward Rodney Elliott made the team's 10th three-pointer of the night to tie the game at 107.

The BayRunners had a prime opportunity to win the game in regulation after a turnover on the Slam's ensuing possession after forward Bryant Notree turned the ball over on the inbounds pass, but the team was unable to get a shot off.

"They really hung in there," Truax said. "It is no great strategy."

Despite trailing by three at halftime, the BayRunners played possibly the most exciting first half at home all season.

The excitement -- courtesy of 6-for-13 shooting from three-point territory and a host of layups from players driving to the basket -- kept the team in the game despite the Slam shooting 55.6 percent.

Rogers led the way with 16 first-half points, including 3-for-3 on three-pointers. The BayRunners trailed 29-28 at the end of the first quarter while Truax rotated in 10 guys. Only LaMarr Greer, who missed the game with a foot injury, and Robert Werdann did not play.

As impressive as Rogers was in the first half, forward Lonnie Harrell, who started in place of Monty Wilson, was equally as good in the second.

Harrell scored 17 points while shooting 3-for-4 from behind the three-point line.

"They had momentum on their side," Slam coach John Whisenant said. "I wish them good luck. This ought to be good for them."

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