Southern's ego takes a beating in 89-79 loss


In an act of frustration, Southern guard Damon Cason pulled his jersey over his face.

For the second consecutive night, the Bulldogs were looking to beat a nationally ranked team, and for the second consecutive night, the Bulldogs were disappointed.

"Everybody's worried about being ranked," said Cason after Southern's 89-79 loss to St. Raymond's of the Bronx, N.Y., the nation's 12th-ranked team. "I don't worry about that. I just want to win, and that's what we all need to worry about."

Southern (10-3) didn't fall because of lack of effort. The Bulldogs, whose three losses have been against nationally ranked competition, used four sophomores and a senior to cut a 20-point deficit to six with 1 minute, 23 seconds left.

But in the game's final three minutes Southern hit just three of eight free throws -- with three of the misses coming on the front end of one-and-one situations.

"We looked for certain people for leadership and we didn't get it," said Southern coach Meredith Smith. "We had a bunch of kids in the game, and they just didn't have the experience to be a settling effect."

Southern, a 73-64 loser Friday night to third-ranked St. Anthony's of Jersey City, N.J., never could recover from its early deficit. It was a first half of too many turnovers, too many missed shots and and giving up too many second-chance opportunities.

The Bulldogs were out-rebounded by 24-21 in the first half, but St. Raymond's grabbed 13 offensive boards in taking a 44-31 halftime lead.

"Early in the game I thought the poise that we needed wasn't there," Smith said. "They were crashing the boards and we didn't do a good job boxing out. As a result we got hurt."

After Southern senior Kwame Evans (16 points) scored on a layup to start the second half, St. Raymond's scored nine straight to grab its biggest lead, 53-33.

St. Raymond's was sparked in the quarter by the front-line play of forward Dana Dingle (23 points -- 11 of 18 from the field) and 6 foot 7 center Damon Boneparte (17 points, seven of nine from the field).

St. Raymond's increased the lead to 79-61 with 3:57 left in the game, following two free throws by guard Kareem Reid (14 points). But a 9-1 run by Southern capped by Cason's three-pointer with 2:41 left had the Bulldogs within 80-70.

Sophomore forward Kevin Simpson, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half, hit two free throws with 1:23 left to pull the Bulldogs within 83-77. But, after Dingle missed a free throw for St. Raymond's, Southern's Dante Williams (15 points) turned the ball over with the Bulldogs looking to cut the lead to four. The Bulldogs scored just two more points the rest of the way to end their journey for added national respect.

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