BayRunners guard Shawnta Rogers, coming off the bench now, salvaged what has turned into a sour inaugural season by doing one of the things he does best.
He shot and made the three, nailing three in the fourth quarter last night to help end a 22-game losing streak for the BayRunners in a 94-92 International Basketball League win over the Cincinnati Stuff at the Baltimore Arena.
"When I look for my shot, I hit it," Rogers said. "When I don't look for my shot, that's when I can't put it in the ocean."
Rogers hit back-to-back three-pointers after the BayRunners trailed for one of the few times in the game.
Rogers' second three, which came after he forced a Stuff turnover, gave the BayRunners a 67-62 lead with eight minutes left, and they never trailed again.
In fact, the BayRunners had a rare comfortable lead down the stretch. So, for once, with under three minutes to go, the Stuff had to play into one of the BayRunners' strengths. Cincinnati was forced to foul and send the league's best free-throw-shooting team to the line. Although the Stuff hit three three-pointers in the game's final three minutes to carve away at a 10-point deficit, the BayRunners converted on nine of 10 free throws to get their first win since Feb. 29.
"This is just a great team victory," BayRunners coach Terry Truax said. "This is probably the first 48 minutes of sustained effort in a long time.
"We haven't been in a position that often to play with the lead. But it was a game I thought that was just won on character. I think Cincinnati might have been thinking a little bit about the playoffs and trying to play some of their bench today. But they didn't get a chance to do that."
Stuff coach Joby Wright did not get a chance to use his bench much at all.
All the starters had to play more than 31 minutes, which could have been the source of some frustration for Wright, who eventually was tossed out of the game after receiving double technical fouls with just under five minutes left and his team down 74-69.
The BayRunners responded after that, going on a 7-2 run.
"It was always a part of the game in the third or fourth quarter where we started losing games," said Kurk Lee, who tied Rodney Elliott for a team-high 18 points. "But Shawnta's threes and steal helped us out a lot."
The BayRunners held the Stuff to 37 points in the first half, a far cry from the team that gave up 45 points in one quarter earlier this season against St. Louis.
The BayRunners held Cincinnati to 40 percent shooting, although they shot only 32 percent.
The difference came in 12 more shots for the BayRunners, and 1-for-8 shooting for the Stuff from three-point territory, giving the BayRunners a six-point halftime lead. It was an advantage the BayRunners had only 17 times earlier this season. They did it by helping on defense, forcing the Stuff into 11 turnovers while getting six steals.
NOTE: BayRunners center Brent Dabbs has been suspended from the team indefinitely for violation of team policy. Dabbs was leading the team in rebounding, averaging six a game.
Opponent: Trenton Shooting Stars
Site: Sovereign Bank Arena, Trenton, N.J.
Time: 7: 30
Radio: WJFK (1300 AM)
Outlook: Trenton has locked up the No. 2 seed over Richmond in the East Conference and will have home-court advantage in the teams' opening-round meeting. The Stars have won four straight, including a 13-point win over the BayRunners Thursday. The BayRunners lead the league in free-throw shooting, hitting about 74 percent of their attempts. Trenton has won eight of the 10 meetings against the BayRunners this season.