Wheeling Jesuit hangs on, beats Shepherd, 71-70

December 05, 1996


Staff Writer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Denny Alexander had plenty to say about Shepherd College's 71-70 loss Wednesday night to Wheeling Jesuit.

He just wasn't offering his words for public consumption.

The fourth-year coach showed more self control than Richard Simmons in a candy factory. It would have been easy to unload after the final four seconds of frustration, during which two controversial calls helped prevent the Rams from at least tying the West Virginia Conference game at the Butcher Athletic Center.

"It didn't come down to the final four seconds," Alexander said stiffly and diplomatically. "We had a lot of opportunities to make it happen and didn't do it. We have to make the big plays. That's all I can say."


League bylaws, you see.

The Rams (2-2, 1-1) trailed 71-70 when Rashad Crutchfield was fouled by Danny Sancomb with four seconds remaining. Crutchfield received the ball after missing the first of two foul shots, but as he started to shoot, referee George Geatz came from under the basket to signal timeout. According to the rules, play can't be stopped after the ball is handed to the shooter.

"Our player told the official we wanted a timeout after the first shot," Wheeling coach Jay DeFruscio said. "He forgot."

Crutchfield fired the shot and made it, although it didn't count.

"If he didn't hear them call timeout, is that our fault?" Alexander said.

Crutchfield missed the second shot and Sancomb grabbed the rebound. Richie Sutherland tied him up with one second remaining, giving Shepherd the ball on the alternate possession. After a timeout, the Rams inbounded the ball to Sutherland under the basket, but he was stripped of the ball on the way up and time expired.

"After the timeout, we switched things around to prevent any screens," DeFruscio said. "I don't know how Sutherland got open. It was a good play. Was there a foul? I don't know. That's such a bang-bang play."

Wheeling (6-0, 1-0) escaped with the victory in its closest game to date.

Crutchfield and Sutherland led Shepherd with 14 points. Mike Johnson and Jim Coyle added 13 each.

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