Greyhounds go down fighting in season-ending loss to Rider

Men fall, 75-67, in MAAC but earn praise from Hicks

March 06, 2004|By Dan Hickling | Dan Hickling,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ALBANY, N.Y. - A Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament upset by No. 10 seed Loyola over fifth-seeded Rider would have been more than just a stunner. It would have been one of the best feel-good stories of the college basketball season.

And the Greyhounds nearly pulled it off, too, before finally falling to the Broncos, 75-67, in their opening-round meeting at Pepsi Arena.

Loyola, which won just once in 28 games this season, led for nearly the entire first half, and was still ahead long after intermission.

But without a finishing kick, or an answer for Broncos All-MAAC guard Jerry Johnson (game-high 31 points), the Greyhounds simply ran out of gas.

"When you have a losing record and there doesn't seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel, it's so easy to quit," said Loyola coach Scott Hicks. "Common people quit. I think we have a lot of uncommon people, who showed a lot of character."

Sophomore forward Charlie Bell paced Loyola's effort, pouring in a career-high 26 points, and holding the offense together at critical stages. Three times, the Greyhounds took the lead on points provided by Bell.

"We realized we had nothing to lose and everything to gain," Bell said. "We just came out pumped up. We knew there was no tomorrow."

Loyola swiftly built an 11-2 lead to open the game, then stayed ahead for much of the first half before entering the break trailing 34-32.

In the second half, the Broncos (17-13) opened a 38-32 advantage and seemed on the verge of putting the game away.

But with 18:17 remaining, Bell sliced the lead in half with a three-pointer. Later, he made a layup to tie the game at 42-42, then hit two free throws to put Loyola back in front with 13:34 to play.

The Greyhounds managed to cling to the lead until 6:04 remained, when Johnson hit two free throws to tie the score at 55-55.

Rider didn't go ahead to stay until Terrence Mouton's layup with 4:32 remaining made it 59-57.

Johnson then dashed Loyola's remaining hopes with a trio of three-pointers down the stretch.

"As a coach, you look for hard work and effort," Hicks said. "Our kids made good plays and they played hard. I'm proud of our team. You have to look past the record sometimes. Coming off this game, I'm proud to be their coach."

LOYOLA-Bell 8-18 6-7 26, Tuck 3-4 5-5 12, Hinds 3-6 2-2 8, Chivers 3-7 0-1 6, Corrigan 2-3 0-0 5, Nijaradze 1-1 2-2 4, Allen 2-4 0-0 4, James 1-4 0-0 2, Chatman 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-48 15-17 67. RIDER-Johnson 10-20 6-7 31, Mouton 3-10 3-5 10, Castleberry 3-5 3-4 9, Muniz 3-5 2-3 9, Pereira 2-3 4-4 8, Taylor 1-3 2-2 4, Minyem 2-3 0-0 4, Young 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 24-51 20-25 75. Half: Rider 34, Loyola 32. 3-point goals-Loyola 6-18 (Bell 4-11, Tuck 1-1, James 0-2, Allen 0-1, Corrigan 1-2, Chatman 0-1.), Rider 7-20 (Johnson 5-10, Mouton 1-4, Young 0-1, Muniz 1-2, Taylor 0-2, Minyem 0-1.). Fouled out-Tuck. Rebounds-Loyola 26 (Bell 5, James 5), Rider 31 (Muniz 6). Assists-Loyola 12 (Hinds 4), Rider 8 (Johnson 4). Technical fouls-none. Total Fouls-Loyola 20, Rider 15. A-n/a.

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