BayRunners can't stop Rhythm in 123-106 loss

Allowing 39 points in 4th extends losing streak to 9

March 25, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Terry Truax looked on the stat sheet at the 39 points the BayRunners gave up in the fourth quarter last night, shook his head, then said what the final score bore out.

"We're just not stopping people," Truax said after his team's 123-106 loss to the Richmond Rhythm before 6,123 at Baltimore Arena. "A lot of it is just learning how to play from the standpoint of time and scoring and shot selection. But the key thing now is defense."

The BayRunners (13-32) have been playing poor defense for long stretches during their current nine-game losing streak.

Two such stretches last night lasted the entire first and fourth quarters. The Rhythm (17-30) shot 63 percent in the first period and scored 32 points, then went a step further in the final quarter, shooting 75 percent.

The teams started the fourth quarter tied at 82 before the Rhythm went on a 14-5 run go up 98-89. The BayRunners, who were shooting 53 percent through three quarters, then had trouble from the field and did not make a field goal until two minutes were left in the game.

They had to use the free-throw line to stay within striking distance, but were unable to get the lead under seven for the rest of the game.

It was the fourth loss in six games against the Rhythm, which opened a three-game lead for the third and final playoff spot in the East Conference. Richmond did it by shooting 10-for-22 from three-point territory and 29-for-32 from the free throw line.

Seven players scored in double digits for the Rhythm, including a team-high 28 from Jerod Ward.

"Throughout the game, we're just not stopping people," said Truax, whose team will play in St. Louis tonight. "Thirty-nine points in the fourth quarter -- you just can't win like that. And I don't know the answer."

Truax did go on to venture a couple of guesses. He said maybe he should call more timeouts when teams string together six or seven unanswered points, rather than save them for the end of the game.

He also said maybe he should rest more of his players, whom he said were probably a little tired from playing so many minutes.

The coach, of course, can take all the blame he wants, but ultimately, as forward Rodney Elliott put it, the responsibility falls on the players.

"I think we're going to be a good team when we're able to stop players on the defensive end," said Elliott, who led the BayRunners with 26 points and 12 rebounds.

"We have guys on the team that are offensively sound, but until we play defense as a team, we're going to continue going the way we're going."

That would not be to the playoffs. The loss already makes it impossible for the BayRunners to win the season series with Richmond.

Richmond 32 25 27 39 -- 123

BayRunners 32 28 24 22 -- 106

RICHMOND -- Miskiri 3-11 1-1 7, Harris 4-5 2-4 12, Robinson 3-5 4-4 10, Young 0-0 0-0 0, Ward 10-17 6-6 28, Cartwright 1-4 1-2 3, Warren 7-7 0-0 14, English 3-11 2-2 10, Morton 6-10 4-4 18, Holmes 5-8 4-4 16, Johnson 0-0 5-5 5. Totals 42-78 29-32 123.

BAYRUNNERS -- Smith 1-3 2-2 4, Rogers 7-11 3-4 19, Lee 3-8 2-2 10, Elliott 9-13 6-9 26, Blount 0-0 0-0 0, Goodrich 5-13 4-5 15, Harrell 1-9 5-6 7, Wilson 1-1 0-0 2, Greer 0-0 0-0 0, Dabbs 4-5 0-1 8, Werdann 0-0 0-0 0, Tucker 4-12 7-7 15. Totals 35-75 29-36 106.

3-point goals--Richmond 10-22 (Harris 2-3, Morton 2-3, Holmes 2-4, Ward 2-4, English 2-5, Miskiri 0-1, Robinson 0-2); BayRunners 7-22 (Rogers 2-4, Elliott 2-5, Lee 2-6, Goodrich 1-2, Smith 0-1, Harrell 0-4.) Rebounds--Richmond 44 (Ward 10); BayRunners 35 (Elliott 12). Assists--Richmond 15 (Holmes, Morton, Warren 3); BayRunners 17 (Rogers 6). Total fouls--Richmond 24, BayRunners 25. Fouled out--Johnson. A--6,123.

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