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NCAA Lacrosse Tournament: Duke Beats Loyola in Double Overtime

The Greyhounds will not defend their 2012 title after their defeat in Durham.

Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

There isn't a particularly good place to start, so let's start from the end and time travel through the past in the most selective way possible:

That happened with 1:40 remaining in the second overtime period. A Case Matheis goal put Loyola in the cold locker for six months; the genesis of Matheis' winner starting with a Luke Duprey strip of Josh Hawkins (who moments earlier had stripped Duprey) and Matheis corralling the loose ball, crashing toward the crease somewhat molested, and sticking the ball between Runkel's legs. Jack Runkel crumpled to the ground after Matheis finished the drill, but Runkel almost had a different ending to a day in which he turned away 22 shots.

Before Matheis had a chance to have grapes fed to him one-by-one, the freshman almost had the horns put on his head. Out of a Loyola timeout in the first overtime, the Greyhounds were able to isolate Justin Ward on a shortstick behind the cage. Ward accelerated to goal line extended but a sharp slide from Will Haus caused a turnover and Henry Lobb picked up the groundball. Lobb matriculated the ball to Matheis -- just a rookie in his first NCAA Tournament experience -- and the attack took a terrible jump shot before giving the offensive possession time to develop. Runkel ate up the attempt, pressed Loyola in the other direction and, in an extra-man posture following a Luke Duprey tripping penalty, saw the Greyhounds make two attempts on Kyle Turri (the second of which I have as a pipe but the live stats show as a Turri save) that ultimately could have ended the game.

But even before Matheis canned the game winner and before his decision to take a poor shot almost handed Loyola the game, Loyola had the game put away; the Greyhounds were six steps from the bus but told to turn back because they hadn't finished their tour. On the faceoff following Matheis' game-tying goal with just 1:05 remaining in regulation (more on that in a second), Blake Burkhart picked the draw clean against Brendan Fowler (Fowler went 18-24 on the day at the dot), charged down the middle of the field with around three Devils in pursuit (although none were in his face), and beat Turri low to net what looked like the potential game-winner with just under 60 seconds to play. There was just one problem: Charley Toomey had called a timeout a nanosecond before Burkhart released the ball, taking the winning score off the board and instead creating a settled situation in which Greg DeLuca dispossessed Sean O'Sullivan and Chris Hipps scooped up the loose ball. It is highly likely that piece of film finds its way to the bucket of jet fuel for instant burning.

But even before all that stuff happened, Matheis took a test run as a hero. Zach Herreweyers put Loyola up 11-10 with just 3:31 remaining in regulation on a helper from Ward; Herreweyers' tally immediately followed a Duke transition opportunity that merited little and created the circumstances for Loyola's tally in the other direction. Loyola won the ensuing faceoff but got nothing on a shot from Mike Sawyer and a Nikko Pontrello turnover ended the Greyhound possession. Duke would take a timeout with 1:37 remaining in regulation to try and knot the scoreboard and force overtime. The Devils set out the timeout meandered about the box -- Christian Walsh pushed the ball to Josh Dionne and Dionne moved the ball to Jordan Wolf who was unable to create anything from behind. The ball eventually ended up in David Lawson's crosse and the midfielder took a somewhat specious shot that ended up creating all kinds of positive circumstances -- Runkel stopped the attempt but allowed a rebound; Matheis, charging the crease, scooped up the loose ball and put the ball past Runkel from his knees. The goal came with just 1:05 remaining in regulation and looked like the unstoppable force toward overtime. And then all that other stuff happened.

Yet, even before Matheis was a hero the first time and sheer anarchy happened, Duke had to come back from a 7-2 deficit late in the second quarter. The Greyhounds owned the first 30 minutes of play, holding Duke scoreless for two deep stretches -- 16:26 and 10:50 efforts -- in the first half. The Greyhounds eventually entered the intermission with a 7-4 lead, but the third quarter (15 minutes that changed the face of the game) was all Duke: Falling behind 8-4 early in the third quarter, the Devils used a 4-0 run from the 8:55 mark of the period to the 1:57 mark of the quarter to knot the score at eight and set the stage for the rest of the game. No team would lead by more than a goal the rest of the way, the foundation for total insanity and brains leaking from ears.

Here's a truncated tempo-free box score:

Loyola-Duke: Truncated Tempo-Free Box Score
Metric Loyola Duke
Offensive Efficiency (per 100 Offensive Opportunities) 28.95 25.53
Offensive Opportunities 38 47
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 0.97 1.30
Offensive Shooting Percentage 29.73% 19.67%
Turnovers (per 100 Offensive Opportunities) 31.58 27.66
Caused Turnovers (per 100 Defensive Opportunities) 8.51 15.79
Unforced Turnovers (per 100 Offensive Opportunities) 15.79 19.15
Team Save Percentage 64.71% 54.17%
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 46.81 34.21