Clark stands tall as St. Peter's routs Loyola, 73-54

January 30, 2003|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

St. Peter's basketball coach Bob Leckie harbors no illusions about his 5-foot-8 freshman point guard, Keydren Clark.

"If he were 6-foot-3, I wouldn't have been able to touch him with a 10-foot pole," Leckie said. "The major schools would have been all over him."

Those major schools might regret their decision after all. Clark, whose 24.4-point scoring average is fifth best among Division I players, helped St. Peter's blow by Loyola, 73-54, last night at Reitz Arena, giving the Peacocks their second Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference win over the Greyhounds in three weeks.

St. Peter's (6-12, 3-7) had lost five straight games coming in, its last win coming against Loyola (4-14, 1-9) on Jan. 10.

"Clark is a sensational player," Loyola coach Scott Hicks said after watching the guard collect 17 points, six assists, seven rebounds and four steals against the Greyhounds in only 31 minutes. "He can score a lot, but he's very unselfish. He gets everyone to run in transition and keeps his teammates involved. He's embraced that leadership role, and he's just a freshman."

Loyola has some talented young players of its own in sophomores Lucious Jordan and Bernard Allen and freshman Charlie Bell, but all three struggled during an ugly first half for the Greyhounds.

St. Peter's freshman forward George Jefferson, in his first career start, hit four first-half three-pointers and the Peacocks' defense jumped all over Loyola, forcing 13 turnovers en route to a 36-20 halftime lead.

"Our defense was really the key tonight," Clark said. "It gave us early momentum, and George Jefferson was knocking down some big shots in transition. We were flowing out there."

Loyola was doing anything but. Even when the Greyhounds got open looks at the basket, they failed to score.

"Even when we did execute our offense, we didn't convert," Hicks said. "We left a lot of points out there with missed layups and free throws."

St. Peter's made 10 three-pointers, including six by Jefferson (18 points). Jordan scored 16 points to lead Loyola, and Donovan Thomas added 11.

ST. PETER'S - Thompson 3-7 1-2 7, Jefferson 6-12 0-0 18, John 1-4 2-2 4, Ali 1-3 0-0 2, Clark 7-17 0-0 17, Bozovic 2-6 2-2 6, Hinnant 4-7 0-0 9, Hooker 0-0 0-0 0, Martinez 0-0 0-0 0, Robinson 2-6 0-0 4, Devonish 2-4 2-3 6, Dudley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-65 7-9 73.

LOYOLA - Thomas 3-7 5-10 11, Bossman 2-3 0-0 6, Southall 3-4 4-5 10, Jordan 6-12 2-4 16, Bell 0-5 5-7 5, Chatman 0-0 0-0 0, Allen 0-4 1-2 1, Dickey 0-0 0-0 0, Hinds 1-2 1-2 3, Chivers 1-1 0-1 2, Alujevic 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 16-40 18-31 54.

Half - St. Peter's 36, Loyola 20. 3-point goals-St. Peter's 4-14 (Thompson, 0-1, Jefferson 6-10, Clark 3-8, Bozovic 0-1, Robinson 0-2, Dudley 0-2), Loyola 4-14 (Thomas 0-1, Bossman 2-3, Jordan 2-5, Bell 0-2, Allen 0-2, Alujevic 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-St. Peter's 36 (Thompson 8), Loyola 32 (Jordan 6, Bell 6). Assists-St. Peter's 11 (Clark 6), Loyola 7 (Bell 4). Total fouls-St. Peter's 24, Loyola 15. A-272.

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