March 5, 2004
Albany, N.Y. - Charlie Bell scored a career-high 26 points and for 35 minutes on Friday afternoon, it looked like the Loyola sophomore would lead his team to an upset victory over No. 5 seed Rider at the MAAC Tournament in Albany, N.Y. Jerry Johnson, however, rallied the Broncs to a 75-67 win, eliminating the 'Hounds in the first round of tournament play.
"We came out with nothing to lose and everything to gain," says Bell. "We knew there was no tomorrow and we gave it all we had."
The Greyhounds jumped out to an 8-0 lead with sophomore Linton Hinds, who started his first game of the year, scoring four quick points. Freshman Michael Tuck extended the lead to 11-2 before Rider answered with a 9-2 run to tie the contest at 13-13. The two teams battled back-and-forth and after five lead changes and five ties, Johnson knocked down a jumper before the halftime buzzer to give Rider a 34-32 advantage at the break.
"This wasn't the first time we've played a good half of basketball," says Bell. "Everyone knew that we needed 40 minutes to win and the second half has hurt us all year."
After shooting 50 percent from the field in the first half, a fired-up Greyhound squad quickly found itself down 38-32. Loyola responded with a 6-0 run to tie the score with 17:27 left in regulation. The 'Hounds took their first second-half lead at 13:34 with a pair of Bell free throws and after Tuck nailed his attempts from the charity stripe, Loyola led 53-48.
"When you have a bad win-loss record, it's easy to give up," says Loyola Head Coach Scott Hicks. "Common people give up and there are no common people on this team. We played hard for 40 minutes, but Rider put the ball in Jerry Johnson's hands and he's a very good player."
Johnson pulled Rider back within a bucket and at 5:13 the Broncs took the lead back. After a Terrance Mouton jumper, Johnson hit a deep three-point field goal to extend Rider's lead to five points with 3:46 left to play. Johnson finished with 31 points as Rider closed out the game shooting 54 percent from the field in the second half.
Bell added five rebounds to his 26 points, Tuck scored 12 points while Hinds finished with eight points for Loyola. The Greyhounds finish the season with a 1-27 overall record, Bell ends his sophomore campaign with a 15.3 point-per-game average.