Loyola continues Patriot League play Wednesday at Holy Cross

January 29, 2014 | WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds at Holy Cross Crusaders

Wednesday, January 29, 2014  |  7:00 p.m.

Worcester, Mass. | Hart Center 


Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola returns to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the second time in as many weeks for a Wednesday, January 29, game at College of the Holy Cross.

The game marks the end of the first half of Loyola and Holy Cross’ Patriot League schedule.

The Greyhounds are looking for their first Patriot League road win of the season.

With 21 points on Saturday night against Colgate University, Dylon Cormier recorded 20 or more for the 14th time in 19 games this year.

Loyola continues to lead the Patriot League in steals per game, averaging 8.7 a contest. Starting guards R.J. Williams (2.5) and Dylon Cormier (2.2) are first and second, individually.

Last Time Out

Loyola snapped a two-game losing skid with a 67-60 victory on Saturday night over Colgate.

Dylon Cormier and R.J. Williams combined to score 16 of the Greyhounds’ final 18 points in the victory.

Cormier finished with 21 points to lead all scorers, while Williams tallied a career-high 15. The guard tandem combined to make all 13 of their attempts from the free-throw line.

Loyola shot a season-best 88.9 percent from the free-throw line in the game, converting on 16-of-18 chances.

Colgate led by nine early in the game and after trailing by seven at halftime, the Raiders pulled within a point twice in the game’s last eight minutes.



Patriot League Network

Wednesday game against Holy Cross will air live on the Patriot League Network.

The contest, and all of Loyola’s remaining, non-televised home and road games will be streamed, free of charge, in high definition and can be accessed at www.patriotleague.tv.


Series History Versus Holy Cross

Loyola and Holy Cross will meet for the first time as Patriot League foes and the fifth time overall when the teams take the floor on Wednesday night.

The teams, which have evenly split the first five meetings in the series, last met in the consolation game of the Otis Spunkmeyer Classic in Oakland, Calif. Loyola defeated the Crusaders, 73-55, in that contest.

Holy Cross has won twice in games played in Worcester, Mass., but the Greyhounds dealt it a 87-73 defeat on December 6, 1984, in the first game ever played in Loyola’s Reitz Arena.


Jesuit Connections

Wednesday’s game is part of the Jesuit Basketball Spotlight, a national college basketball initiative of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

Loyola’s president, Rev. Brian Linnane, S.J., came to the Evergreen campus after previously serving as a dean and professor at Holy Cross.


Start Of A New Era

Loyola’s January 2 game against Navy marked the start of a new era for Loyola basketball, the Greyhounds’ first game as a member of the Patriot League.

Loyola announced in August 2012 it would join the 10-school League, and it officially became a member on July 1, 2013.

The Greyhounds had been members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) since 1989-1990.


Gotta Get To The Line

Loyola faced a 34-16 disadvantage in free throws attempted last Wednesday night at Bucknell, and the Bison held an even greater 27-8 lead in free throws made. The 19-point advantage from the line more than made up for Bucknell’s 10-point margin of victory.

While Loyola got to the line just 18 times on Saturday against Colgate, it made good on a season-best 88.9 percent of its attempts (16). The Greyhounds also limited Colgate to just 10 free-throw attempts.

The Greyhounds have seen their most success this season when getting to the free-throw line consistently. They are 6-2 when attempting 25 or more free throws (wins over Binghamton, Cornell, Fairfield, UMBC, Navy and Lafayette; losses to Stony Brook and Saint Joseph’s). In the Loyola’s three other wins, Catholic, Lehigh and Colgate, it took 19, 24 and 18 free throws, respectively.

Overall, Loyola is getting to the free-throw line almost eight fewer in losses than wins (27.7-20.1).


Baltimore Guard Duo

Former summer league teammates Dylon Cormier and R.J. Williams have made quite the duo as Loyola’s starting backcourt over the past three years, and Saturday’s game was perfect evidence of that.

The were the game’s top two scorers with Cormier turning in 21 and Williams delivering a career-high 15 points. They made 11-of-20 combined shots and were successful on all 13 of their combined free-throw attempts.

Williams had a team-best four assists, while Cormier passed out three. Defensively, they combined for six of Loyola’s eight steals with Williams coming up with four.

In the game’s final 10 minutes, Cormier and Williams scored 16 of Loyola’s final 18 points.


Bench Production

With the offense sputtering in the game’s first few minutes, Head Coach G.G. Smith turned to his bench to provide a spark, and the non-starters came through. Loyola received five minutes each from Jevon Patton and Damion Rashford in the first half. Patton had an assist, while Rashford grabbed three rebounds and had a blocked shot.

Nick Gorski played 11 minutes, his most since the turn of the calendar to January, and he contributed four points, two rebounds and a steal against the Raiders.

Jarred Jones, who has been the Greyhounds’ leading player off the bench all season, scored six points in 27 minutes on Saturday night.


Away From The Friendly Confines

Loyola lost its eighth straight road game last Wednesday night at Bucknell after winning its first three this season away from Reitz Arena.

At 3-8 on the road, the Greyhounds are shooting 39.3 percent as opposed to 46.3 percent while going 5-2 at home. Opponents are shooting 47.3 percent in their own facilities, 43.1 percent in Reitz Arena.

Loyola does shoot slightly better from 3-point range on the road, making 32.1 percent of shots from behind the arc as compared to 27.9 at home.

The Greyhounds turn the ball over at a rate of one per game more on the road (12.2-11.0), and they also force an additional turnover at home (15.0-13.9).

With these factors, the Greyhounds are averaging nearly five points less per game on the road, 66.5, to their 71.4 points per game at home.


The Difference

The Greyhounds won two in a row – January 11 against Lehigh and two days later versus Lafayette – after going 1-6 in their previous seven.

They produced two of their three best shooting performances of the season in the games, shooting an even 50 percent against the Mountain Hawks and a season-best 54.9 versus the Leopards.

Combined, Loyola made 54-of-103 (52.4 percent) of its shots in the wins after shooting 39.2 percent (150-of-383) in its previous seven.


Rebounding On The Boards

Loyola also outrebounded Lehigh and Lafayette by an average of 8.5 in the two victories. In the seven prior games, Loyola was being outrebounded by 7.1 a contest. The Greyhounds outrebounded a team just once (Navy by 2) during that stretch.

Loyola had its biggest positive rebounding margin of the season last Monday against Lafayette, grabbing 38 to the Leopards’ 23.

The Greyhounds followed that by outrebounding Boston University, 32-30, marking the third game in a row Loyola has outrebounded its opponent, the first time this year they have done that.

The loss to the Terriers, however, dropped Loyola’s record to 5-3 when grabbing more rebounds than its foes.


Lower Volume, Higher Efficiency

Dylon Cormier has averaged 21.0 points per game over the Greyhounds’ last five, and he has done so with considerably better efficiency.

Over the five games, Cormier has made 58.8 percent (40-of-68) of his shots from the field, a 12.6 percent improvement over his 46.2 percent mark for the entire year.

Versus Lafayette, Cormier made 73.3 percent of his shot attempts (11-of-15). That came after a 10-fo-18 performance versus the Mountain Hawks.

In Loyola’s four previous games – Miami, Navy, Army and American – Cormier had made just 33.8 percent of his shots (21-of-62). That included a game in which he made 10 at Army, but with 25 attempts.

In the seven games prior to the current two-game winning streak, Cormier was just 4-of-26 (15.4 percent) from 3-point range. Against Lehigh and Lafayette, however, he has attempted just one from behind the arc.


Double Double-Doubles

Dylon Cormier and R.J. Williams both posted double-doubles against Lafayette, as Cormier went for 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Williams posted 12 points and a career-best 10 assists.

It was the first time since an 88-85 overtime win against Iona College on January 30, 2011, that two Loyola players completed the feat in the same game. Erik Etherly (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Justin Drummond (14 points, 10 rebounds) managed it on that day.

Williams’ 10 assists were the most by a Greyhounds’ player since Brian Rudolph dished out 10 on February 27, 2011, in the regular-season finale at Canisius College.


Cormier To The Glass

Dylon Cormier led, or tied for the team lead, for the 10 time this season with seven rebounds against Bucknell. Six of the Greyhounds’ eight wins this season have come when Cormier leads the team on the boards.

This season, Cormier leads the Greyhounds with 6.2 rebounds per game, a total that ranks tops among Patriot League guards and fifth overall.

He is also the top offensive rebounder in the conference, averaging 3.3 per game, a mark that is 0.9 better than any other player in the League.

Cormier has 112 total rebounds this year, with 59 coming on the offensive end.


Sticky Fingers

The Greyhounds posted 11 or more steals in each of their first three Patriot League games, and they are averaging 9.1 in conference play through eight games.

The 73 steals in its last eight games have raised Loyola’s Patriot League-leading average to 8.7 per game. Through games of January 27, the Greyhounds are ranked 18th nationally in steals per game.

Loyola has had 11 or more steals in seven games through 19 contests.

R.J. Williams leads the Patriot League,and is 14th nationally in steals per game (2.4), while Dylon Cormier is second (2.2) and tied for 32nd.

Williams posted a career-high six, tied for fifth-most in school single-game history, at Army.

In the January 25 game against Colgate, Cormier had two steals, moving him past Tracy Bergan and into second on the all-time steals list at Loyola. Bergan was in attendance at the game as part of the Greyhounds’ 1994 NCAA Tournament team that was honored that night.

With 108 in his career, Williams is tied for 13th on the career chart.


Cormier’s Scoring

Dylon Cormier has started the season scoring in bunches, averaging 21.9 points per game through 19. Through games of Monday, January 27, Cormier was ninth in the nation in scoring.

Cormier scored 20 or more points in the Greyhounds’ first five games, and he had three 30-plus point efforts during that stretch, as well.

Overall, he has 14 20-plus point games in 18 contests, and he has recorded 25 or more eight times.

On November 20 at UMBC, Cormier had a career-high 12 field goals and went 9-of-13 from the line to match his career-best with 34 points (also set on November 10 at Cornell).

No Loyola player in the school’s Division I era (since 1981-1982) had started the season with five-straight 20-point games. Andre Collins, who set the school single-season scoring record at 26.1, started the 2005-2006 season with 20 or more points in five of six games, but he scored  just 16 in the Greyhounds’ third game of the season.

Cormier was the first player in Loyola men’s basketball history to post two 30+ point games to start the season.

He was also the first Loyola player to score 30 or more in back-to-back outings since Collins went for 34, 36 and 39 in three-straight games (all on the road at VMI, Delaware and Providence) from December 29, 2005-January 3, 2006.


Over 1,600

In the first half of the game at Bucknell, Dylon Cormier hit the 1,600 career points mark, becoming the seventh player in school history to do so, the fifth in the program’s tenure at Division I.

At Boston University, Cormier moved into seventh-place all-time at Loyola in scoring, passing Mike Powell and his 1,580 points.

Cormier now has 1,630 career points through 113 career games. Next up on the career scoring list is Mike Krawczyk who scored 1,676 from 1968-72.


Cormier To The Charity Stripe

Loyola went to the free-throw line a season-high 35 times on December 19 against Stony Brook, and Dylon Cormier took 21 of the attempts.

His 21 free throw attempts were the second-most in school single-game history, one shy of tying the January 14, 2009, mark set by Jamal Barney against NJIT.

Cormier made 16 free throws, a career-best, good for a tie for fourth in single-game history. Barney holds that record, as well, with 18.

He had another game that will be entered on the Loyola charts against Navy when he made 12-of-12 at the line. It was the fifth-best performance in school history (most makes without a miss).

Through 19 games, Cormier has gone to the free-throw line 173 times (fifth in Division I through games of January 27). His average of 9.1 free throws per game is tied for fourth nationally.

Loyola is guaranteed at least 30 games this season (29 regular-season, plus at least one Patriot League Tournament), and with that average, Cormier would 273 free throws in 2013-14. The school single-season record for free throws attempted is 255 set in 1997-98 by Mike Powell.

In his career, Cormier is 453-of-644 from the free-throw line. He is second in school history in free throws made and third in attempts.


Last Five Focus

In Loyola’s nine victories this season, it has outscored its opponents 18.4-11.8 in the final five minutes of the games.

The Greyhounds have shot 59.2 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from 3-point range, in the final five minutes of the wins. Their opponents have shot just 37.2 percent from the field and 23.3 percent from behind the arc.

In those 45 minutes, Loyola has committed just 13 turnovers to its opponents’ 25. Seventeen of the opponent turnovers have been from Loyola steals.


Block Party

Jordan Latham tied his career-high with four blocks against Navy, and Loyola matched its season-best with seven.

Latham now has 79 career blocks, fifth-best in school history.


Die Hard Dogs

Loyola has trailed with five minutes to go in regulation in four of its eight victories this season – Binghamton, Cornell, UMBC and Navy – only to come back to win.

In their Patriot League-opener, the Greyhounds were 10 points back of Navy, 47-37, when the clock hit 5:00 in the second half, but Loyola closed the half on an 15-5 run to force overtime.

At Binghamton, the Greyhounds were down five at the five-minute mark; Cornell, seven; and UMBC, six. In the game at UMBC, the Retrievers’ lead ballooned to 10 with 90 seconds left.


Overcoming Overtime

Loyola is 3-0 in overtime games this season and has won its last seven games that have extended past regulation.

Since the 2004-2005 season, Loyola is 12-1 in overtime games.

This season, the Greyhounds have outscored Cornell, UMBC and Navy by an average of 12.3 to 7.3 in the extra frames.

Loyola’s three overtime games this year match the number it played, and won, last year. Prior to 2012-13, the last time Loyola played three or more overtime games in a season was 1990-91.


Turnover Battle

Through 19 games this season, the Greyhounds are averaging 2.5 fewer turnovers per game than their opponents, tops in the Patriot League and 41st in the nation.


Telling Stat

In Loyola’s 10 losses this season, the Greyhounds are shooting nearly eight percent worse from the floor than they are in their eight victories.

Loyola has made 46.1 percent (178-of-386) shots in six wins versus 37.9 percent (219-of-578) in eight losses. As a consequence, Loyola is averaging 15.8 points less (77.4 versus 61.6) points.

As one would expect, opponents are shooting better (50.1-41.7) in the games they’ve won.


Lasting Impression

After averaging just 5.3 minutes in 27 games last season, Eric Laster has seen his role expand dramatically this season, starting the first 15 games on the wing.

Laster has averaged 8.8 points in Loyola’s first 19 contests, and he is shooting 41.7 percent (30-of-72) from 3-point range. In 27 games last year, he averaged just 0.8 points (22 total) and shot 32.3 percent overall from the field.


Start Of The Smith Era

G.G. Smith was named the 20th head coach in Loyola University Maryland men’s basketball history on April 12, 2013. Her garnered his first head coaching win on November 8, 2013, in the season-opener against Binghamton.

The 1999 graduate of the University of Georgia spent the last six seasons as an assistant coach at Loyola for Jimmy Patsos who took the head coaching position at Siena College in March.

Loyola amassed a 106-87 record (.549) during Smith’s six years as an assistant. The 106 wins and the .549 winning percentage are the best of any six-year stretch during Loyola’s Division I history (since 1982-1983).

As a player, Smith was a three-year starter and four-year letterwinner for the Bulldogs from 1995-1999. Smith helped the Bulldogs advance to the 1996 NCAA Sweet 16 and another tournament appearance in 1997. He left Georgia as the school’s career leader in games played (129), wins in a season (24) and 3-pointers in a game (nine).

Smith is the son of current Texas Tech University Head Coach Tubby Smith. The elder Smith led the University of Kentucky to the 1998 NCAA Championship and is in his 23rd season as a head coach. G.G. Smith played for his father from 1995-1997 at Georgia.


Look Back At 2012-2013

Loyola finished the 2012-2013 season with a 23-12 record, marking the first time in the school’s Division I history (since 1982-1983) that the Greyhounds have posted back-to-back 20-win seasons.

The Greyhounds finished their final season in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with a 12-6 mark, tying for second place.

After falling in the first round of the MAAC Championships, Loyola its first-ever bid tot he CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. Following the Greyhounds’ 2012 appearance in the NCAA Tournament, it was the first consecutive postseason bids in school Division I history and the first since 1953 in any division of competition.

Erik Etherly and Dylon Cormier became the first set of Loyola teammates to be named to the All-MAAC First Team in the same year.

Five players – Julius Brooks, Etherly, Robert Olson, Luke Wandrusch and Anthony Winbush – graduated after the season, leaving behind combined career totals of 3,413 points, 1,930 rebounds, 575 assists and 395 steals.


Cormier On The Charts

Dylon Cormier enters his senior season at Loyola with a chance to climb many of the Greyhounds’ career statistical charts. Here is a look at where he stands:


7th 1,630 points
Next Mike Krawczyk, 1,676
Field Goals Made
T-12th 514 field goals made
Next Bob Reilly, 549
3-Pointers Made
13th 95 3-Pt. Made
Next B.J. Davis, 104
Free Throws Made
2nd 453 free throws made
Next Jim Lacy, 613
20th 207 assists
Next Dave Wojick, 219
2nd 181 steals
Next Jason Rowe, 272




Into The Fold

Loyola signed three high school seniors in the early signing period to comprise its Class of 2018.

Forward Cam Gregory (Waldorf, Md./St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes) and guards Chancellor Barnard (Columbia, Md./Glenelg Country School) and Colton Bishop (Winston-Salem, N.C./Forsyth County Day School) will join the program in the fall.

For more on the trio, visit http://loyo.la/MBB-NLIs-13.


High Marks

The Loyola men’s basketball team scored the highest amongst squads in the State of Maryland in the most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate report. The Greyhounds checked in with a 91-percent GSR, tops among the state’s nine Division I schools, for players who entered the school between 2003-2006.


Nod To Maryland Prep Basketball

The State of Maryland is home to the most college basketball recruits, according to Mode Analytics. Loyola’s home produces 58 players per 1,000 college-age males, six more than second place Louisiana.


Up Next

Loyola will play two straight home games to open the month of February. The Greyhounds will host the U.S. Military Academy on Saturday, February 1, at 1 p.m. American University then visits Reitz Arena on Wednesday, February 5, at 7:30 p.m.