Ask Loyola's Steve Kraning about his game, and he'll tell you he's always played the same way.
The 6-foot-6 forward scored 25 points, nine on three-pointers, and was named tournament MVP, as 10th-ranked Loyola (8-2) posted a 73-65 win over Mount St. Joseph (2-7) to win the sixth annual Wes Unseld New Year's Classic last night at Catonsville Community College.
"I've always had an outside shot," said Kraning, "and [Loyola] coach [Jerry] Savage has really helped me work on it."
"I think that any time you win a tournament, it's a good accomplishment," said Loyola's Savage. "This is a fine tournament, and I know this will give us some experience going into the Catholic League tournament later this season."
The Dons jumped out to an 11-0 lead, but Mount St. Joseph cut it to 16-15 at the end of the first quarter on Donte Abron's jumper.
Loyola increased the lead to 19-15 on Kraning's three-pointer to begin the second quarter, but the Gaels scored the next 10 to take a 25-19 lead. Kraning and Warren Parker scored twice in the last minute to cut the Gaels' lead to 25-23 at the half.
The teams traded baskets through most of the third quarter until Mount St. Joseph's Brian Dunn, an all-tournament team member, hit a layup and teammate Jay English a three-pointer on two straight possessions to give the Gaels a 43-36 lead with 3 minutes, 45 seconds left in the quarter.
Loyola scored the next 12, five by Warren Parker, to take a 48-43 lead. Mount St. Joseph cut it to 48-45 on free throws by English and Brian Dunn, but Wes Unseld's layup made it 50-45 after three quarters.
Mount St. Joseph's Scott Dunn scored with 5:25 left to cut the lead to 55-53, but Loyola, led by four Kraning points, ran off the next nine points to make it 64-53. Mount St. Joseph never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
In other games, four-time defending champion Broadneck (4-2) took third place with a 62-57 victory over Woodlawn (5-3). Broadneck cruised to an 11-point halftime lead and widened it to as many as 12 in the second half, but still had to withstand a furious Woodlawn comeback that cut the lead to one.
In the fifth-place game, Edmondson (3-3) used 23 points from Maurice Blanding and 16 from Eddie Rivers to top Randallstown (2-6), 72-54.
In the seventh-place game, Hammond (2-5) got 16 points each from Simeon Green and Kris Jefferson to erase a three-point lead and defeat Forest Park, 72-61.