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Shot at first MAAC win slips away from Loyola; Turnovers, poor shooting help give Iona 71-68 victory


When the ball floated from Roderick Platt's hands and out of bounds with 8.2 seconds remaining, ending Loyola's best chance of beating Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference power Iona, it was only another opportunity that the Greyhounds let slip away during a 71-68 loss last night.

Despite 22 points from Blanchard Hurd and 17 from Jason Rowe, a late 16-4 run was not enough to give Loyola (5-8, 0-6) its first MAAC win, a fitting end after turning the ball over 19 times and shooting 55.6 percent from the free-throw line and 36.5 percent from the field.

"I was proud of the way the kids came back," Loyola coach Dino Gaudio said. "We missed our free throws, and we had a couple of mental lapses on inbounds plays. That should never happen. Little things like that make the difference."

Down 63-50 after a three-point shot by Iona's Jason Young with 7: 36 remaining, Loyola roared back, thanks to Hurd and Rowe, who scored 15 of the team's 18 points from that point on.

Rowe's steal and three-point play Loyola within one, 63-62, with 3: 39 left. For the rest of the game, the Greyhounds fell no further than three behind.

Rowe sent Young to the line to hit two free throws and give the Gaels a 69-66 lead with 41.7 seconds remaining, but Hurd's basket 12 seconds later gave the Greyhounds hope at 69-68.

After Nakeia Miller missed the back end of a two-shot foul, Loyola had the ball and the chance to tie or win at 70-68 with 8.2 seconds left. Matched against Miller in the right corner, Platt went up for what looked like a 12-foot jumper and accidentally flung the ball toward the NCAA banners beyond the baseline.

"The ball slid out of my hands," said Platt (10 points, 10 rebounds). "I didn't intend on shooting it. I wanted to give a pump fake and look for the open man. After that, I didn't want to look down, because I knew that we had time for another shot."

Indeed, Tariq Kirksay missed one of two free throws, providing Loyola one more chance to tie with 6.1 seconds left. But Rowe's three-point attempt from the right wing went wide at the buzzer.

"Last year, we came in with a 15-game winning streak and the students were jacked," Iona coach Jeff Ruland said. "I wanted to make this team understand that Loyola is a very dangerous team. They did a good job of controlling the pace, but we came out with the W."

IONA -- Kirksay 2-8 5-7 9, Miller 6-8 3-4 15, Grant 4-12 1-3 10, Young 3-5 4-5 12, Hameed 3-7 7-10 13, Kresta 2-4 0-1 4, Wilson 1-5 4-4 6, Dunmore 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 22-50 24-34 71.

LOYOLA -- Hurd 9-15 4-9 22, Carroll 3-8 1-4 7, Platt 2-8 6-10 10, Blosser 0-3 0-0 0, Jenifer 1-8 4-6 6, Rowe 5-15 5-7 17, Nasiou 1-2 0-0 2, Strong 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 23-63 20-36 68.

Halftime--Iona 37-35. 3-point goals--I 3-11 (Kirksay 0-2, Grant 1-3, Young 2-4, Kresta 0-2). LC 2-12 (Blosser 0-3, Jenifer 0-2, Rowe 2-7). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--I 37 (Kirksay 8), LC 45(Hurd, Platt 10). Assists--I 13 (Kirksay 5), LC 14 (Rowe 4). Total fouls--I 24, LC 24. A--1,219.

Pub Date: 1/14/99

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