2nd-half shooting lifts Loyola to 65-63 victory

'Hounds end 3-game skid, top Central Connecticut

January 07, 2003|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

It's probably safe to say that the Loyola Greyhounds - losers of three straight games entering last night's matchup with Central Connecticut - did not suddenly mature overnight.

It only looked that way.

Loyola, which has only one senior on its roster, was nearly flawless in the second half against Central Connecticut State, hitting 11 of its first 14 shots after intermission to earn a 65-63 victory at Reitz Arena.

Sophomore Bernard Allen led the way for the Greyhounds with 21 points and freshman Bobby Bossman added 19 as Loyola (3-7) won for the first time in a nearly a month.

"It was really the first time all year that we've made the plays we needed to down the stretch to win," said Loyola coach Scott Hicks. "We've been in some close games, but we haven't handled the pressure of the big moments like we did tonight."

The Greyhounds lost to Santa Clara by 25 points Dec. 22, then lost on the road to Northeastern by 30 on Jan. 2. But after several good practices last week, Hicks said he felt his team might be ready for a breakout game.

In truth, it was Bossman who looked ready to bust out. The 6-foot-5 guard from Strongsville, Ohio, hit four three-pointers in a tight first half to keep Loyola in the game. Though the Greyhounds gave up several easy baskets in transition and were outrebounded, they trailed the Blue Devils only 34-31.

"I was getting a lot of open looks in the first half," Bossman said. "I knew they'd start to key on me a little bit, and that would open things up for my teammates."

Things did open up for Loyola, especially Allen, who beat Central Connecticut (3-5) countless times on back cuts for layups in the second half.

Though Ron Robinson (22 points, eight rebounds) clearly had command of the paint on the offensive end for Central Connecticut, the Greyhounds kept finding ways to score inside on the other end, taking a 59-54 lead thanks to a 12-0 run capped off by Allen's three-pointer.

"They were overplaying us a little bit in the second half, so we felt like we could get them on some backdoor cuts," Allen said. "Once we started scoring, our confidence grew and it snowballed."

CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE-Robinson 7-12 8-8 22, Pittman 1-2 1-2 3, Alexander 3-4 3-3 10, Scott 5-14 1-3 12, Popofski 2-7 0-0 5, Dukes 0-0 0-0 0, Jefferson 1-5 1-1 3, Barrett 4-5 0-0 8. Totals 23-49 14-17 63.

LOYOLA-Thomas 0-0 3-4 3, Allen 9-14 1-1 21, Nijaradze 0-1 0-0 0, Jordan 3-7 8-9 14, Bossman 7-11 0-0 19, Chatman 1-2 1-1 3, Bell 0-2 0-0 0, Dickey 1-3 0-0 3, Southall 0-5 0-0 0, Chivers 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 22-46 13-15 65.

Half-Central Connecticut, 34-31. 3-point goals-Central Conn. 3-16 (Alexander 1-2, Scott 1-5, Popofski 1-6, Jefferson 0-3), Loyola 8-17 (Allen 2-4, Jordan 0-2, Bossman 5-8, Bell 0-1, Dickey 1-2). Fouled out-Robinson. Rebounds-Central Conn. 29 (Robinson 8), Loyola 21 (Allen 5). Assists-Central Conn. 12 (Alexander 5), Loyola 16 (Jordan 6). Total fouls-Central Conn. 19, Loyola 16. A-150.

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