No matter how you slice it – a win, is a win, is a win. When you’ve just lost a pair of tough back-to-back conference games over the weekend and you’ve only got 5 wins through mid-January, a team can’t be too picky.
Loyola (6-12, 1-5) defeated the New Jersey Institute of Technology 70-62 last night on the Evergreen Campus. The Greyhounds were able to hang on against the Highlanders as sophomore guard Jamal Barney registered 40 points. The setback extended NJIT’s losing streak to 50.
Loyola was up 17 at the half, but NJIT battled back at Reitz Arena and had the game tied at 56-56 with just over 4 minutes remaining. Loyola ended the game on a 14-6 run as 10 of those points came via the free throw line. In the game the Greyhounds shot 32-38 from the charity stripe overall, where 18 of Barney’s 40 were tallied.
No other Loyola player was in double figures as they had a miserable night shooting from the field, going 17-57 (29.8%). The Greyhounds had the advantage on the boards 34-31 led by Isaac Reid’s 11, which was delivered with 8 points off the bench, and Barney’s 8 caroms.
It was a less than perfect night shooting-wise, particularly for the regular starters in the Greyhound backcourt. Brett Harvey came off the bench and never really got in the flow. Even though NJIT was slumped back into a 2-3 zone all night, he didn’t look for his shot and was all-in-all 0-4 from deep. Starting point guard Brian Rudolph oddly fouled out with over 11 minutes left after shooting just 2-8 from beyond the arc.
That left the scoring load for Barney. The Southwestern High School product now has 40+ point outings in the last 2 Greyhound victories. He scored 41 ten nights ago in Buffalo during a win at Canisius. Barney’s pair of outbursts mark the first time a Loyola player has ever scored more than 40 points in a game more than once in a single season. Folks… think about that. In 99 years of recorded basketball at Loyola that has never happened. Barney has played in 18 games, 18 games in Green and Gray and boom. Impressive.
It is clear Coach Jimmy Patsos still wants to tinker with his lineup and rotation as his team plays into the heart of its MAAC schedule. Tonight the minutes pinch got Anthony Winbush, the freshman forward; he started the game and played in its first 2 minutes, but never returned. Marquis Sullivan, Loyola’s sometimes mercurial senior sharp shooter was not dressed… which a little bird told me, was because of, “a knee.” Their absences left room for J’hared Hall and Brad Farrell to see increased minutes.
This weekend Loyola will play at Manhattan Friday night and will host Marist in North Baltimore Sunday at noon. These games are huge for the ‘Hounds as they play two teams currently ahead of them in the MAAC standings who figure to be direct competition for future tournament seeds… it’s never too early.