Junior Thomas Thorton hit a key layup to give Our Lady of Mount Carmel the lead with 36 seconds to go in regulation, and sophomore Cory Groom hit two free throws with 10 seconds left to give the Cougars a 43-40 basketball win over Loyola, in Essex on Wednesday.
The lead changed hands 11 times on the day before coach Tom Rose’s squad went on top for good. The Dons led at the half 23-22 and they increased their lead to 33-29 after three, but the Cougars outscored the Dons 14-7 in the final period to grab the win.
Groom lead all scorers with 13 points and Malachy Onwudiegwu added 12. Onwudiegwu was 4-for-4 from the line in the final eight minutes, and 6-for-6 on the day from the stripe.
“It was important, knocking down my free throws,” said Onwudiegwu. “We played good defense, and we played as a team. We’ve been working hard on free throws, it’s a big thing.”
Groom said that the Cougars played good defense.
“We caused turnovers, finished the layups, and hit free throws.”
Loyola tied the score at 39 on Adam Dunn’s bucket with a little over two minutes to play before Thorton made his key layup.
“I just focused on the layup on that play,” said Thorton. “We played defense and kept it up. We didn’t give up.”
The Dons had two chances to tie the game in the waning moments, but their last second shots failed to hit the mark.
Loyola played tenacious defense and ran their methodical offense.
“That’s what we expected,” said Rose. “Loyola is very disciplined on offense, and they play tough on defense. We had to be patient, and we had to be real smart.”
Loyola was coming off a tough loss on Tuesday night to undefeated John Carroll in their BCL/MIAA A Conference opener. They will travel to Irvington on Friday to face Mount St. Joseph.
|Mount Carmel 43, Loyola 40|
|Loyola: Cross 3, Dunn 8, Floyd 6, Janosile 8, Vigas 6, Bradley 2, Surine 5, Marsh 2.|
|Mount Carmel: Groom 13, Gallina 4, Juczapavicius 8, Thorton 6, Onwudiegwu 12.|