If the Loyola College men’s hoops team were a heavyweight boxer, they would be down on the mat with the referee just moments away from calling the fight over. A 69-67 loss at Reitz Arena to MAAC doormat Canisius after leading by 11 with 7:04 to play has left the Greyhounds staggering and their heads spinning badly.
Case in point, facing the prospects of a 5 game losing streak, 6-10 conference record, and a season in crisis-mode, Coach Jimmy Patsos seemed almost ‘Joaquin Phoenix’-esque delusional in his post-game interview.
The shell-shocked coach spoke about how proud he was of his players’ effort, singled out Jamal Barney for a great performance, identified Ravens Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron and Vermont head coach Mike Lonergan as being in the crowd, and how the team is always fighting to be better and will be the next time out, and did not take any questions. Very Strange, verrrry strange.
This game has three distinct phases. Canisius (8-18, 3-12) dominated a lifeless Loyola team throughout the entire first period and took an 42-34 lead into halftime. Then Loyola started the second half on a 10-0 run and then following another 13-2 run midway through the second had the ‘Hounds leading by the above mentioned 11 points. Afterward it would be all Golden Griffins, ending the game on a 19-6 run.
With a minute left and a 1-point lead a Loyola turnover turned into an hoop and a foul for Canisius forward Julius Coles, who would hit the free throw and put his squad up 2. After a Jamal Barney missed shot, and hit free throw by a Canisius, Tony Lewis would connect on a lay-up with 8 seconds left to cut the lead to 68-67. Barney was forced to foul Golden Griff’s PG Frank Turner and after he sank 1 of 2, the ‘Hounds would have one last six second possession for a chance to send the game to OT. Barney raced coast-to-coast but his jumper didn’t come close and the final buzzer sounded leaving the home team and fans feeling like they took a hard punch in the stomach.
Turner, the outstanding 5’11 Griff’s guard, finished with 23 points and five rebounds to pace Canisius, who will now head back to Buffalo with just their 3rd conference win. Barney, the Southwestern High School product and Loyola’s and the MAAC’s leading scorer, had a another tremendous game hitting for 30 points and controlling the boards grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds. No other Greyhound reached double figures as Loyola really looked tentative on offensive, while on D they were sleep walking at times and beaten down the floor for layups at crucial points of the game.
Loyola (11-17, 6-10) will be in Philadelphia this weekend to take on Drexel of the CAA in their ESPNU BracketBuster game. Tip time will be 5pm on Saturday afternoon from the Dragons’ Daskalakis Athletic Center. Your last chance to see the ’08-’09 Greyhounds on the Evergreen Campus will be next Thursday February, 26 at 7pm.