J. Carroll lives up to hype

Patriots justify No. 21 ESPN rating with road win

John Carroll 54 Towson Catholic 51

Boys basketball

December 12, 2007|By Stefen Lovelace | Stefen Lovelace,Sun Reporter

Coming into this season, the No. 15 John Carroll boys basketball team was surrounded by a lot of hype.

The Patriots were moving up to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference and ESPN put a big and unwanted spotlight on them with a No. 21 ranking in their High Elite 25 poll.

Last night, John Carroll proved it is, indeed, a force this season, upsetting reigning Baltimore Catholic League and A Conference champion Towson Catholic, 54-51, on the road.

"We didn't want to be the Notre Dame of football and have that kind of expectation on us," Patriots coach Tony Martin said of the ESPN ranking. "But tonight was a testament to our hard work to go on the road and get this type of win."

Late in the third quarter, the Patriots (6-1) didn't appear to have much of a chance at a victory. The defense by the No. 2 Owls (1-2) was suffocating, and with about a minute left in the third quarter, Towson Catholic forward Brandon Greene hammered home an emphatic dunk to put the Owls up 43-31.

He hung on the rim a little too long, drawing a technical foul, which sparked John Carroll to a 16-0 run. Martin realized his team wasn't getting enough easy baskets and changed the game plan.

"We talked about in the timeouts that we weren't scoring in our half-court sets," Martin said. "We needed to get up and down the floor and score in transition. We thought we were a better conditioned team and we might be able to get some easy buckets."

The run put John Carroll up 47-43, but Towson Catholic wouldn't fold. After Greene's basket broke his team's scoring drought, the game seesawed until John Carroll went up 53-48 with a minute left.

Towson Catholic guard Larry Bastfield drove the lane and found an open Devin Spencer in the corner. Spencer buried a three to make the score 53-51. The Owls forced a turnover and had Spencer open again with six seconds left for a three that would have won the game, but he couldn't convert.

John Carroll made a free throw and Bastfield shot a 30-footer as time expired, but it rimmed out, preserving the Patriots' victory. Forward Isaiah Philmore had 14 points for John Carroll, and Raphael Jordan had eight points off the bench, all in the fourth quarter.

stefen.lovelace@baltsun.com

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