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Tigers hold off Crusaders

Jesuit improves to 11-2 with a 64-61 win over rival Tampa Catholic.

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By ROBYN DISNEY

© St. Petersburg Times
published January 5, 2002


TAMPA -- While it was cold enough to see your breath outside, the atmosphere inside the Bob Martinez Sports Center was electric for the Jesuit-Tampa Catholic rivalry.

A group of 16 Jesuit students did their best to imitate Duke's Cameron Crazies, standing the entire game wearing blue and white and taunting Tampa Catholic.

Meanwhile, TC fans stomped their feet hard enough to shake the visitors' bleachers.

Oh yeah, the basketball was pretty good, too.

With 10 seconds remaining, Jesuit's Anthony Severino made one of two free throws to put the Tigers up 64-61. Jesuit's defense kept the Crusaders from getting a shot off to win.

Jesuit (11-2) converted six of eight free throws in the fourth quarter to keep Tampa Catholic (8-7) at bay.

"We shot (free throws) well all year," Jesuit coach Neal Goldman said. "We've shot 70 percent as a team and we've been a good free-throw shooting (team) all year. So we are real confident taking free throws with the pressure on us."

Alan Schonbrun's 3-pointer put Jesuit up 50-43 with 5 minutes, 41 seconds left. But the Crusaders went on a 9-0 run to take a two-point lead with 3:45 remaining.

Schonbrun's turnaround jumper tied the game at 52. After a timeout, Jesuit went on a 7-0 run, keyed by Joe Donoho, who was fouled on the way to a layup. The basket counted and he made the free throw.

But TC wouldn't go away.

Ryan Tokarz made a 3-pointer with 54 seconds left to close the deficit to four.

But a missed layup and two free throws from Donoho pushed the Tigers' lead to 61-55.

Tampa Catholic's Scott Collington, who had a game-high 25 points, did score six in the last 25 seconds, but Everette Egun's basket and Severino's free throw sealed the win.

"We've been in this kind of situation all year where we have been in close games in the fourth quarter and we've been able to play well down the stretch," Goldman said.

"This is our 10th win in a row and we've won a lot of close games. We just have to step it up a notch and just want it more than they do."

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