Catholic blew a 10-point second-half lead, watched Bill Dankos' desperation attempt to send the game into overtime fail with two seconds remaining and to absorbed a 57-55 setback at the hands of Loyola of Baltimore last night at the Brookland Gym.
"We had the game, but we left it get away," said disgusted Cardinal Coacn Jakc Kvancz after the hosts had dropped their second straight home and and third loss in a row to fall to 3-13.
"I don't think we played well at all over the last four minutes," continued Kvancz. "They used a half-court trap and we played right into their hands by taking those corner shots. Our problem is on-the-floor leadership."
Kvancz was also concerned that freshman center Mike Neville did not touch the ball in those final four minutes.Neville, a 10.2 point-per-game scorer, who has averaged 22 points over the last four games, led Cardinal scorers with 19 lsat night, canning nine of 15 from the floor.
The Cardinals had two turnovers. three long misses and an offensive foul on six of their last seven possessions.
Consecutive baseline jumpers by Greyhounds Jack Vogt and Tim Caraher pulled Loyola (10-7) into a 53-53 tie with 4:36 remaining. Catholic then spread its offense and worked the ball around for 1 1/2 minutes before guard Joe Collatta missed a jumper.
Caraher then found Tim Koch underneath with a pass and Koch's layup made it 55-53 with 2:13 left. Colletta missed a long jump shot 30 seconds later. Vogt passed to Caraher for another layup that put the Greyhounds up 57-53 with 1:16 left.
Donnie Farrell sank a long jumper with:59 left to pull the Cardinals within two, 57-55. The hosts got a break when Loyola was called for a back court violation with 28 seconds remaining.
Catholic worked the ball until Dankos, under heavy pressure, put up a turnaround jumper from the key with two seconds left. The ball hung on the front rim for a tantalizing moment and rolled off. Loyola volleyed the ball around to burn off the final moments.
"I think we were lucky to even get the shot off," said Kvancz. "We wanted to get it to Neville, or, at least get whoever shot it an easier shot. We were in no position to get the rebound when Billy missed."
Dankos sank a long jumper and a pair of free throws, and Colletta contributed two more baseline goals to key a 10-6 Cardinal spurt early in the second half for a 41-31 Cardinal lead. Minutes later, the Greyhounds made three straight baskets on follwups to tie the game at 45 all.
Vogt, a 6-foot-3 senior guard was especially bothersome to the Cardinals in the final half, scoring 16 of his game-high 22 points.