SAN DIEGO--It took approximately 48 hours for the U.S. International University men's basketball team, fresh off one of the biggest victories in the school's program, to go from ecstasy to agony.
That's what happened when Dave Goodwin's 30-foot shot at the buzzer traveled through the basket to give previously winless Colgate a 91-88 victory over USIU.
"I just don't have any words," said USIU Coach Gary Zarecky, whose Gulls dropped to 4-9. "I sat there on the bench and said to myself: 'They're playing like they want to lose.' That's a terrible way for a coach to evaluate his team.
"Tonight they were a team I had never seen before. For some reason they removed me, the assistant coaches, Golden Hall, you name it, from the game."
Los Angeles Times Monday December 25, 1989 San Diego County Edition Sports Part C Page 15B Column 6 Sports Desk 1 inches; 25 words Type of Material: Correction
For the Record: USIU basketball--A caption on a photograph in Sunday's editions incorrectly identified a U.S. International basketball player. The player was Steve Smith.
The Gulls could not remove Colgate (1-7), although they came close as one Red Raider had fouled out and three more were playing with four fouls when Goodwin made his game-winning shot.
The loss was especially frustrating for Zarecky and the Gulls because they were coming off their finest effort of the season, a 102-93 victory Thursday over an Eastern Washington team that defeated the University of San Diego by 15 points.
"After the Eastern Washington win I was talking about credibility, respectability," Zarecky said. "Now you're looking at neither."
But what really has to have Zarecky concerned is that this was a game that the Gulls should have won.
The Gulls led 20-8 and 41-32 before collapsing late in the first half. USIU lost starting point guard Steve Smith and his backup, Willie Davis, within 30 seconds of each other to sprained ankles.
After Davis went out, Colgate outscored USIU, 11-1, to tie the game, 41-41. The Red Raiders led, 48-46 at halftime.
Smith, visibly hobbling the second half, kept the Gulls in the game with a gutty performance. He finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Kevin Bradshaw had 32 points for USIU.
But they weren't enough as USIU turned the ball over too many times down the stretch. The most crucial turnover came with USIU taking the ball out of bounds with 25 seconds remaining and the game tied, 88-88. But Demetrius Laffitte's pass was stolen by Sean Johnson.
Colgate called a timeout to set up a shot. The Red Raiders didn't get the shot they wanted, but it didn't matter as Goodwin's shot over Bradshaw swished through the basket.
"I knew somebody had to gun it," said Goodwin, who had 23 points. "I knew it was going to be close."
Colgate Coach Jack Bruen wasn't so sure.
"Pure luck," Bruen said. "But when it left his hand, I said 'Gees, it has a chance to go in.' "