By now, Jack Kvancz, Catholic University's basketball coach, has exhausted the litany of postgame explantions. There are only so many ways to describe defeat.
"I thought we played pretty well, and then it went," Kvancz said last night after the Cardinals (4-14) lost another game, 65-52, to Loyola (md.) at Brookland Gym. "And," continued Kvancz, "when it went, it went."
After a tightly played first half, in which they led, 29-27, the Cards stayed with their Division II opponents through most of the second half. With 6:20 remaining, Loyola (11-9) led, 50-48.
Then Loyola's Mark Valderas made two free throws and Mark DiGiacomo fed Tom Tierney for a layup. Loyola by six. The Cards cut the deficit back to four, then three of their 12 second half turnovers killed them, The Greyhounds built their margin of victory in free throws.
For CU to win, it needs big games from its two senior scholarship players, guard Joe Colletta and forward Bill Dankos. Each averages more than 14 points a game. Against the Greyhounds, they made seven of 20 shots and totaled 14 points.
"We always collapse," Colletta said. "We always get the mental breakdown. Instead of pulling ahead, we always find a way to go down. It's just frustrating. That's a game we should have won."
Dankos, who scored his 1,000th career point Saturday, injured his left knee in a collision with Loyola's Gordie Miller early in the game. Although he returned later in the half and played the rest of the way, he was ineffective.
"I didn't have that much movement," said Dankos, sprawled on a trainer's table with an ice pack on the knee. "I could run straigth ahead, but I was hesitant on the cuts. I felt slow."
Guard Geoff Mack, who has an injured knee, and forward Chuck Osward each scored 10 points for the Cards.
Some of the statistics were misleading.They showed that the teams shot the same from the floor (25 for 58) and that the Greyhounds made 13 more free throws. But most of those came at the end when the game was decided.
The stats also had CU outrebounding Loyola, 40-36. Those numbers seemed suspect. Led by DiGiacomo, who had 15 rebounds in addition to 18 points, the Greyhounds controlled the backboards the second half.
"It was like a playground game," Kvancz said. "The only time they stopped (rebounding) was when they put it in the basket."