A boost from the basement: Loyola dumps Rider in OT

Greyhounds end skid, get first MAAC win, 74-69

College Basketball

January 20, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Someone had to remain in the basement when the last two teams without a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference victory collided yesterday at Reitz Arena.

That distinction now belongs to defending conference co-champion Rider, which couldn't stave off Loyola one final time in overtime and dropped a 74-69 decision for its sixth consecutive loss.

The victory ended a four-game skid for Loyola (4-11, 1-6), which used a nine-point advantage at the foul line to notch its first win since Jan. 6.

"This win was extremely important to help keep our confidence up," said Greyhounds forward Bernard Allen, the MAAC's leading rebounder. "We wanted to remember Friday night [when the team blew a lead and lost by the same 74-69 score to Marist] and play as hard as we could."

The Greyhounds appeared to have the game wrapped up in regulation with a 56-46 lead and 3:14 to play.

But Rider's Robert Taylor (game-high 21 points) suddenly got hot from long range and fellow guard Jerry Johnson, the 2002 MAAC Rookie of the Year, pitched in with a three-pointer and three free throws after being fouled attempting a long-range shot.

With 13.8 seconds left, the Broncs (5-9, 0-5) pulled even at 63. On Loyola's last possession, freshman point man Charlie Bell couldn't get free for a drive and took a 10-foot fadeaway jumper from along the baseline that didn't connect.

"We played a lot of zone because they have three excellent guards," Loyola coach Scott Hicks said. "I was worried our guards might get in foul trouble [in a man-to-man defense] and we wanted to limit their shot attempts. But late in the second half, they hit some threes. We got a little tired."

Donovan Thomas (17 points) carried the Greyhounds offensively early with help from Allen and freshman Bobby Bossman (13) while leading scorer Lucious Jordan struggled.

"If someone told me we'd beat Rider with Lucious going 1-for-10, I'd have thought he was crazy," Hicks said. "A lot of teams focus on him. With all that attention, he has been doing a good job in recent games of finding the open man."

But Jordan was a big contributor in the overtime with the opening basket and two key free throws. Bell also drained a three to put Loyola ahead to stay and Allen contributed three free throws.

"Lucious [averaging 14.1 points a game] is one of our team leaders," Allen said. "He was able to take the big free throws and make them."

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