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Loyola's Gathers Collapses, Dies : College basketball: West Coast Conference's all-time leading scorer collapses during tournament game and is carried off court.

March 05, 1990|From Staff and Wire Reports

Hank Gathers, the West Coast Conference's all-time leading scorer and No. 11 on the NCAA's career scoring list, died Sunday after collapsing on the court during Loyola Marymount's game against Portland in the semifinals of the WCC tournament.

The cause of death was not immediately known. However, officials did say Gathers had a cardiac arrest.

Gathers had given Loyola Marymount a 25-13 lead with a dunk moments before collapsing near midcourt. At 5:36 p.m. PST, Gathers was taken by ambulance to Marina Mercy Hospital.

Several minutes after Gathers was taken to the hospital, the WCC commissioner and executive board announced the game had been suspended indefinitely with 13:34 left in the first half. Sunday night's other semifinal game, between Pepperdine and San Diego, was postponed indefinitely.

"I think it was necessary to postpone the games tonight because of not knowing the severity of Hank's condition," Portland Coach Larry Steele said. Steele said the Portland players were "very concerned, stunned, disbelieving."

Gathers' mother and sister rushed out of the stands in front of a hushed crowd at Gersten Pavilion after the player collapsed. Gathers was carried off on a stretcher and CPR was administered.

It was the second time this season that the 6-foot-7, 210-pound senior from Philadelphia has fainted on his home court during a game.

On Dec. 9 against Santa Barbara, Gathers went to the foul line with 13:56 left in the first half, missed his first free throw, stepped away from the foul line and collapsed. He underwent several days of tests in a local hospital and returned after missing two games.

Gathers began taking medication to regulate his heartbeat. Doctors suspected that an accelerated heart beat might have led to the first collapse.

Gathers convinced the doctors to reduce his level of medication, after which he felt his body strength improving. In the first week of February, he scored 44 points against St. Mary's.

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