Jon Koncak's college career came to a disappointing, almost humiliating end here today when he sat on the bench the last five minutes of the game as his Southern Methodist team headed for a 70-57 loss to Loyola (Ill.) in the second round of the NCAA's East Regional.
The Ramblers (27-5), led by Carl Golston's 20 points, advanced to Thursday's regional semifinals against top-ranked Georgetown.
Golston, a 5-foot-9 guard, was so excited he grabbed the microphone of a Chicago television station and started screaming, "Bring on Georgetown! They've been on our minds a long time, ever since the pairings came out. We're city kids, we're not gonna back off anybody."
Golston's emotion reflected his team's play today. The Ramblers shot poorer than SMU and got outrebounded, but showed much more spirit than the Mustangs, once the nation's No. 2-ranked team. SMU hardly resembled the team that lost to Georgetown, 37-36, in a second-round tournament game last year.
Guard Andre Battle had missed five of six shots the first half, but came out and made the first two jumpers in the second half to give the Ramblers a 35-30 lead.
SMU (23-10), led by Koncak's 19 points and nine rebounds, closed to 45-42 on a hanging jumper by Larry Davis (14 points), but fell behind, 49-42, as Golston hit two jumpers.
Koncak, a second-team all-America and 1984 Olympian, took his 7-foot frame to the bench with three fouls, his team trailing, 58-50, with 5:12 left.
Coach Dave Bliss said he needed quicker players to chase Loyola's spread-delay offense and that Koncak was a "liability" at that point.
Although SMU held a marked height advantage and scored easily whenever the ball was thrown inside, Bliss said his team's obsession with going inside became "overkill."
Asked if he was upset about sitting out his final minutes as a collegian, Koncak said, "Maybe I wanted to play, but you don't want to get hurt at the end of a game . . . I thought the game was pretty much out of reach.
"You can't win every game. The last 15 or 18 games, we hadn't won two straight more than twice. We had to look at it realistically. It wasn't really looking up for us. We were kind of tired, a long way from home."
Golston and his teammates could sense that sort of attitude and struck quickly. "At halftime, we came in here and said, 'They're not really tough, they're not the team we thought they were.' "