The game meant nothing in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings. It meant everything to a young team trying to establish momentum and build confidence.
Junior guard Mike Powell made six free throws in the final 41 seconds, and Loyola College avenged an eight-point loss at North Carolina-Greensboro earlier this month by defeating the Spartans, 69-64, in a nonconference game before 1,095 at Reitz Arena last night.
Powell and senior forward Anthony Smith combined for four second-half field goals. Powell's lone basket, a leaning one-hander in the lane, came with 54 seconds left.
In the past, that would have doomed the Greyhounds (5-11). Last night, it meant nothing, especially with their variety of defenses forcing Greensboro into several turnovers after the Spartans had gone on a 12-2 run to lead 54-53 with 6: 17 left.
"We had talked about other guys stepping up," said coach Brian Ellerbe. "We also showed our composure a little bit better at the end. We've got three freshman on the floor a lot, and the kids made some good plays.
"I think we played almost every defense that we have. They weren't all that effective, but they were different looks."
Ellerbe went with a smaller lineup, starting 6-foot-3 freshman Darren Kelly at forward and moving 6-6 freshman Erik Cooper to center. That put 6-10 sophomore Roderick Platt, who had been a starter for all 31 of his college games, on the bench.
Cooper responded with 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field, including a steal and dunk that gave Loyola a 57-54 lead with about five minutes left. After Greensboro's Tony Daughtry tied it on a three-pointer, Platt scored off an offensive rebound to move the Greyhounds ahead for good.
Powell led the Greyhounds with 18 points. Smith had 16 points and six steals, and Platt added nine points and five rebounds.
Greensboro (7-12), which plays in the Big South Conference, shot 52 percent from the field, but made only four trips to the line.
"You're not going to win when you shoot four free throws," said Greensboro coach Randy Peele. "The margin for error is so small."
The victory was huge for the Greyhounds.
Pub Date: 1/23/97