Off to a rocky start; IBL BayRunners lose opener to Stars, 107-95


The 9,000 fans who filled the Baltimore Arena were ready for a victory in the BayRunners' International Basketball League opener.

Turns out the team was not.

Or maybe the credit should go to Trenton Shooting Stars guard Lamarr Greer, who hit a three-pointer that put his team up by eight points with 4: 10 left in the game en route to a 107-95 win last night over the BayRunners.

That three-pointer capped a 15-point fourth quarter for Greer, who was the Stars' leading scorer with 25 points.

Greer ruined what was a festive atmosphere in the Arena after the BayRunners took their biggest lead -- six points -- on forward Peca Arsic's three-pointer on the first possession of the fourth quarter.

Greer then ran off the next nine points to give the Stars an 85-82 lead.

The teams will play again tonight in Trenton at 7: 30.

"[Greer] made some tough jumpers at the buzzer," BayRunners coach Herb Brown said. "He penetrated. He is a player, no doubt about it."

It was Greer in the fourth, but it was guard Dennis Edwards who kept the BayRunners battling from behind the first three quarters.

Edwards finished with 20 points.

"Three guys stepped up big for us -- Greer, Kirk King and Dennis Edwards," Stars coach Kevin Mackey said.

Baltimore trailed most of the game before former Dunbar and University of Maryland standout Rodney Elliott's dunk with 1: 52 left in the third quarter put the team up 73-72. Edwards tied the game 74-74 with 34 seconds left. But Arsic hit a three with three seconds left in the quarter to put the BayRunners up 77-74 at the end of the period.

Elliott's dunk probably drew the biggest ovation of the night, which is fitting since Elliott had the biggest night for the BayRunners.

"I think he was terrific," Brown said. "I think [Steve] Goodrich played a good game. It is hard to single out anybody else. I know guys who tried, but I just don't think we played that well."

Brown is right. LaBradford Smith, Shawnta Rogers and Keith Booth combined to shoot 7-for-23 from the floor and score just 18 points.

Elliott finished with a game-high 26 points, including 5-for-8 from three-point land. Goodrich added 17 points and six rebounds.

"Early on I struggled a little bit, but as the game went on I calmed down a little bit more," Elliott said. "Fortunately, I had some pretty good looks at the basket.

"It is disappointing but not the end of the world. This was the first game of the season. They just came out and played a good game and came out on top. As the year goes on, we are going to put things together and come out on top."

The BayRunners fell down by nine late in the first quarter and never led in the period. The team started slowly, shooting 25.9 percent for the period, while the Stars shot 10 of 19 and held a 24-15 lead after one quarter.

Elliott led a second-quarter charge by hitting back-to-back three-pointers midway through the period, tying the game 36-36. Elliott had missed his first four shots, two from behind the arc.

The BayRunners missed their first chance to take the lead, turning the ball over, leading to James Martin's layup on their next possession.

The turnover came off a Stars trap, something they were able to do with moderate success in the first half.

"The trap hurt us a bit, there is no doubt about that," Brown said.

The BayRunners took their first lead, 49-48, on Smith's three-pointer, with 1: 34 left in the half before trailing 52-49 at halftime. Forward Cliff Rozier came off the bench in the second quarter to lead the team with 10 points.

"It was a tough game," Rozier said. "We didn't lead until late in the second quarter. Then we lost it. We're competitive, though, and we'll come back at them."

BayRunners tonight

Opponent: Trenton Shooting Stars

Site: Sovereign Band Arena, Trenton, N.J.

Time: 7:30

Radio: WJFK (1300 AM)

Outlook: The teams play a rematch after opening the season last night in Baltimore. The teams will play three of their first five games against each other. The Shooting Stars have the International Basketball League's largest player in Garth Joseph (7 feet 2, 315 pounds).

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