They say in baseball, “Momentum is only as important as the next day’s starting pitcher.” In basketball, one could say something along the lines of, “Momentum is only as important as how well your team shoots the ball.” For the Loyola men’s hoops team, the momentum of a 6 game win streak and a masterful Friday night road win at Rider was not enough for the Greyhounds to overcome 28% shooting in a loss at Fairfield on Super Bowl Sunday.
In a great mid-major college basketball atmosphere at Alumni Gymnasium in Lawrenceville, New Jersey the Greyhounds gave a great effort in a 75-61 victory. The bright lights of a national television were not big enough for Jamal Barney as he stepped to center stage as he performed phenomenally scoring 28 points on 8-13 shooting from the floor. Playing well in his new role of 6th man Brett Harvey added 18 points in 29 minutes of action. The pair scored a combined 30 points in the second half and held off the Broncs to extend their winning streak and move to 6-5 in the MAAC, after starting 1-5. I’ll even go as far as to say that this game was as good as I’ve ever seen Loyola play. At Rider the fans are right on the floor and can really get on the players. Brian Rudolph and Harvey were able to take car of the ball when they needed to and Barney came up with big shot after big shot, big free throw after big free throw. You have to think he is on his way to a spot on the 1st team all-MAAC squad at year’s end.
Things couldn’t have been better going into the Arena at Harbor Yard for a Sunday matinee before football festivities. Fairfield was coming into the game without the services of their 2 best players and another starter due to suspension and injury.
Yet, as Loyola found out, all good things come to an end when your team cannot shoot well than 28%. The 68-54 loss drops the ‘Hounds to a record of 11-13 and an even 6-6 in conference. Interesting of not, Fairfield won the game with ease despite missing Jon Han, Anthony Johnson, and Warren Edney, and not hitting a long ball all afternoon, they shot 0-9 from beyond the arc. Loyola was just as bad, maybe worse, as they shot 5-30 from deep.
Though the loss to Fairfield is disappointing, a split on the road in weekend MAAC play is by no means the end of the world. In fact, I would think Coach Jimmy Patsos and his team would sign up for another split this coming weekend as they will take on Manhattan at Reitz Arena Saturday night before taking a trip to Albany to take on MAAC heavyweight Siena. The Saints are an impressive 12-0 in conference after handling St. Peter’s Monday night.
As of right now, Loyola is more than staying afloat. The Greyhounds stand at #5 in the conference standings with Saturday’s opponent Manhattan #6. In the MAAC you have to hold serve on your home court and take road wins whenever you can possibly grab one. Fairfield did a nice job of doing so with the win on Sunday, now it’s Loyola’s turn.