Rhythm tunes out 'Runners in overtime

Richmond prevails, 120-118, despite Lee-led comeback

March 29, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Being the veteran and the unofficial team leader, Kurk Lee, who found himself re-inserted in the starting lineup last night for the first time since the beginning of the season, tried to take over.

And he did, for a span of about a minute, scoring seven straight points with 6: 15 left in the game and his team down 18 to the Richmond Rhythm. Lee led a 27-9 run that temporarily rescued a fastly sinking BayRunners season, only to see it slip away again in overtime, 120-118, before 3,243 at Baltimore Arena.

It was the BayRunners' fifth overtime loss in six games, all at home, and dropped them to 13-34. The loss also extends the team's losing streak to 11, and guarantees Richmond the season series. The Rhythm (18-31) opened up a four-game lead for the third and final playoff spot over the BayRunners.

With the BayRunners down 98-80, Lee made back-to-back layups, the second coming off a steal, then hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 98-87 with just under five minutes left in regulation.

The BayRunners had looked just about finished up to that point. But Lee and center Brent Dabbs picked up the scoring, while the overall team picked up the defense.

Dabbs scored two of his 22 points in the paint with 36 seconds left in regulation to cap the comeback and tie the game at 107.

"After I started hitting the threes, they couldn't double on Brent down low," said Lee, who was 3-for-4 from three-point territory and finished with 22 points. "My main thing was just to try and get the guys going."

But in overtime, a Rhythm team that was without its top two players in A.J. English and Kendrick Warren, made just enough plays in the end. Jerod Ward's steal with 38 seconds left and the team up by three sealed the win.

"I really felt like when we got it to overtime, that we would win," said BayRunners coach Terry Truax, whose team plays at Cincinnati tonight. "Now that's five overtime losses at home. That is emblematic of a team not experiencing success. A lot of times you play, particularly at home, to get it to overtime because you feel like you can win. We are not at that stage yet.

"I think this could have been the biggest game of the season. If we'd been able to get this game tonight, I think we would have got our confidence back, and who know what happens?"

If nothing else though, Truax may have found a go-to lineup down the stretch. Dabbs, Lee, Steve Goodrich, Rodney Elliott and Shawnta Rogers were the ones responsible for cutting that Rhythm lead, and all five played the entire overtime session.

Goodrich scored a season-high 27 points, while Rogers and Elliott both added 13. LaMarr Greer did make his return from a foot injury that kept him out the past 18 games, but played only 13 minutes and scored two points.

"I told the guys after the game that we haven't played like that in a long time," Lee said.

"This is going to help us down the road. Thirteen [wins] is a bad number. Once we get off 13, then I think we will start winning some games."

BayRunners tonight

Opponent: Cincinnati Stuff

Site: Firstar Center, Cincinnati

Time: 7: 30

Outlook: The BayRunners are 1-6 against the Stuff, but most of the games have been competitive. For the BayRunners, this is the first of three games against the top three teams in the International Basketball League. G LaMarr Greer may make his return from a foot injury. Greer, who has missed the past 18 games, was averaging 12.8 points. Three Cincinnati players have won Player of the Week -- F Tremaine Fowlkes, F Alex Sanders, C Soumaila Samake -- tying Trenton for the most of these awards.

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