|Opponent||Niagara Purple Eagles|
|Date||Monday, January 2, 2012|
|Location||Baltimore, Md. | Reitz Arena|
|Series Record||Niagara leads, 33-15|
|Last Meeting||Loyola 75, Niagara 63 – Feb. 25, 2011 at Niagara|
The new year dawns on Sunday, and the Loyola University Maryland men’s basketball team will open play in 2012 the following day when it hosts Niagara University at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, January 2, in Reitz Arena.
The home game is the first for Loyola in over a month since the Greyhounds defeated Marist College on December 1.
Monday’s game is the tail end of doubleheader. The Loyola women host Niagara at 4:30 p.m.
It will also be the first of 14-straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference contests for the Greyhounds. The lone remaining non-conference match-up on Loyola’s regular-season slate will be on the weekend of February 17-19 when the Greyhounds will host an opponent in Bracketbuster action.
Loyola snapped a nine-game losing skid to the Purple Eagles in the teams’ second meeting last year, winning a 75-63 decision in Western New York on February 25, 2011.
Niagara holds a 33-15 advantage in the previous 48 meetings between the teams and had won nine in a row dating back to the January 12, 2007, when Loyola last won a home game in the series. That was a thrilling, 96-95, overtime victory in Reitz Arena.
Nine Is Fine
The Greyhounds’ victory last Wednesday at Bucknell was their ninth of the season, setting a program standard for wins before the calendar year turns.
Loyola’s previous best for wins in November and December was seven, a number Jimmy Patsos-led teams totaled during the 2005-2006 and 2009-2010 seasons.
Second In Road Wins
Loyola’s six road wins in November and December have them tied for second in all of NCAA Division I for victories away from its home court.
The Greyhounds are tied with fellow Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference team Iona and No. 23 Murray State, and the three teams trail only Cleveland State, which has seven.
Last year, the Greyhounds finished the season with a 7-8 record away from Reitz Arena.
Last Wednesday’s game closed a six-game road trip for the Greyhounds, a venture away from Baltimore on which Loyola finished 4-2 with its only losses coming at St. Bonaventure and No. 3 Kentucky.
The roadtrip is the longest in school Division I history (since 1981-1982), stretching longer than multiple five-game swings, the most recent coming from December 21, 2008-January 5, 2009. That trip took Loyola from Northern California (UC-Davis) to North Carolina (Duke and North Carolina State) and Western New York (Canisius and Niagara). The Greyhounds went 2-3 against those teams.
Snapping A Home-Court Streak
One of the Greyhounds’ accomplishments on their recent road trip came Wednesday when they snapped Bucknell’s 18-game winning streak on its home floor. The streak was the 11th-longest in NCAA Division I at the time and spanned 394 days to November 2010.
Fans who can’t make it to the game on Thursday have multiple options for catching the action from Reitz Arena. In addition to live stats and internet audio, all non-televised home contests, will be broadcast free of charge on Hounds Unleashed, the broadcast arm of LoyolaGreyhounds.com. The games will be available on computers and most smart phone devices with Mark Zinno and Jim Chivers calling the action.
Solid MAAC Start
Loyola did something earlier this month it had never accomplished in 22 previous seasons in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Greyhounds went 2-0 in their first two league games, defeating Marist at home and Siena on the road.
The Greyhounds also won their conference opener for the first time since 2005-2006, marking just the fourth time in 23 seasons they were 1-0 in the MAAC.
Last Time Out
Loyola held Bucknell to just three points in the game’s final 4:10 to defeat the preseason pick to win the Patriot League, 72-67, on its home court. The Greyhounds trailed 64-61 after a Steven Kasper free throw, but layups by Justin Drummond and Dylon Cormier in the next 46 seconds put Loyola in front for good.
Cormier’s layup resulted in a traditional 3-point play after he was fouled, and Shane Walker knocked down a 3-pointer off a Cormier assist on Loyola’s next possession.
Erik Etherly led the Greyhounds with 18 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.
Keeping Loyola In The Game
Justin Drummond scored nine-straight Loyola points over a 4:09 stretch that helped the Greyhounds stay close to Bucknell when the Bison were rallying. Bucknell outscored Loyola 13-9 during the span, but Drummond’s play kept the Bison from getting too far out in front.
Drummond was 3-of-3 form the field, and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line during the run, while the rest of the Greyhounds were 0-2 from both. He also had a big defensive rebound after a Cameron Ayers missed jumper that led to a Dylon Cormier layup to put Loyola in front for good at 3:36.
A Little Bit Of Everything
Erik Etherly led Loyola in four statistical categories at Bucknell: points (18), rebounds (8), assists (4) and blocked shots (4). While it was atypical to lead the Greyhounds in all of the categories, Etherly has routinely topped the team in at least one category this season.
He has led the team in rebounding eight times (including ties); scoring, 4; assists, 5; steals, 4; blocked shots, 5.
Currently, Etherly paces the team in rebounds (95 total, 7.9 per game) and assists (26, 2.2), and he is second in scoring (156, 13.0) and minutes played (370, 30.8).
He is the only player in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference currently leading his team in rebounds and assists.
Etherly has scored in double-figures in 21 of the Greyhounds’ last 23 games, going back to January 2011. He has averaged 14.1 in those contests.
Back On The Boards
After outrebounding opponents in six of its first eight games, Loyola was beaten on the boards at Mount St. Mary’s (3), St. Bonaventure (12) and No. 3 Kentucky (8). Wednesday’s game reversed that trend when Loyola pulled down 36 rebounds to Bucknell’s 25.
Entering the game, Bucknell led the Patriot League and was in the top 30 nationally in rebounding margin (+6.7), but the Greyhounds held the Bison to a season-low 25. Their previous low was 30 when they played at No. 1 Syracuse.
On The Mark
Loyola shot a season-best 52.9-percent (27-of-51) from the field on Wednesday, the first time this season the Greyhounds have made more than 50-percent of their shots. The Greyhounds opened the game by making 59.3-percent (16-of-27) in the first half.
Keeping It Close
Neither Loyola, nor Bucknell, led by more than five points (Loyola by 5; Bucknell, 3) on Wednesday, the tightest game the Greyhounds have played this year. It is the second time this season Loyola has played a game that neither team has been ahead by 10 or more.
Nine of the Greyhounds’ 12 games this year have been decided by 10 or fewer points.
Cutting Down Turnovers
In the first six games of the season, Loyola averaged 16 turnovers per, a total of 96. Since the going on the road, however, for the last six games, the Greyhounds have committed just 69 or 11.5 per game.
Take out the 21-turnover outing in the win at George Washington, and Loyola has averaged 9.8 turnovers. In the last four games, the Greyhounds have not committed more than 11 turnovers.
Back-to-Back Tournament Teams
For the only time this season, Loyola faced teams that appeared in the 2011 NCAA Tournament in consecutive games, No. 3 Kentucky and Bucknell.
Both teams bowed out to eventual National Champion Connecticut, Bucknell falling 81-52 in the West Region First Round, while Kentucky lost 56-55 in the Final Four.
Latham Continues Contributions
Jordan Latham has seen increased playing time in the last four Loyola games, seeing 18 minutes of action at Mount St. Mary’s and 17 at St. Bonaventure, Kentucky and Bucknell, the top four totals of his career.
He scored just two points at The Mount and four at St. Bonaventure, but his size, effort and solid defense were noted by the coaches, leading to increased time on the floor. Latham then tallied a career-high seven points against the Wildcats.
Latham is a new addition to the Loyola side this season after transferring during the offseason from Xavier. He was granted an NCAA waiver and will be immediately eligible to play for the Greyhounds in 2011-2012 rather than having to sit out the typical year-in-residency.
Latham returned to his home city when joining the Greyhounds. The 6-foot-8 forward played high school basketball a mere 2.5 miles from Loyola’s campus at the storied Baltimore City College, a high school that has produced two sitting U.S. Congressmen (Elijah Cummings, D-Md.; Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md.) and a U.S. Senator (Ben Cardin D-Md.).
St. Bonaventure University defeated Loyola 76-66, snapping the Greyhounds’ eight-game winning streak. Loyola had reeled off the span of wins since falling in its season-opener at Wake Forest.
The winning streak was the longest in the school’s NCAA Division I history (since 1981-82), and it is the longest since the 1964-1965 team won eight in a row during January and February.
Drummond’s Career Day
Justin Drummond put together a career-high scoring effort in the Greyhounds’ loss at St. Bonaventure, finishing with 26 points to eclipse the 22 he scored last February against Canisius.
Drummond, who came off the bench and played 32 minutes, made 10-of-19 shots, both of his 3-point attempts and all four of his free throws. He also led Loyola with five rebounds.
Drummond spread his 26 points evenly between the two halves, scoring 13 in each. He scored six-straight points as Loyola held the Bonnies scoreless for over two minutes in the second half, trimming St. Bonaventure’s advantage from 12 to six with 4:06 to play.
Honors Abound For Cormier
Loyola sophomore guard Dylon Cormier picked up a couple of awards for his recent play, earning Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Week and Jesuit Basketball Spotlight National Player of the Week honors on December 12, both for the first time in his career.
Cormier averaged 20.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in a pair of wins over George Washington University and Mount St. Mary’s University.
This season, Cormier leads Loyola in scoring (16.8), 3-point percentage (.424) and steals (1.8) and is third in rebounding (5.0).
Walker Off And Running At Mount
Shane Walker scored his first five points of the game last Saturday at Mount St. Mary’s from the free-throw line, but he made a 3-pointer from the top left of the arc with less than five seconds to go in the first half, pushing the Greyhounds’ lead to seven at the break.
In the second half, he continued his scoring effort, tallying 12 of his team-high 20 points in the second 20 minute stretch. He made another three and finished the game 10-of-13 from the charity stripe, setting career-highs in free throws made and attempted.
Walker’s 20 points were a season-high, and the game marked the eighth time in nine games this year he has scored 10 or more.
His only sub 10-point outing came one game earlier when he scored just four points at George Washington. Both of his field goals against the Colonials were big ones, however. The first came after George Washington cut Loyola’s one-time 20-point advantage to just eight with 5:18 to play, and the momentum appeared to have shifted to the Colonials. On the ensuing possession, R.J. Williams misfired on a jumper, but Walker came from the weak side to grab the rebound and lay it off the glass for his first points.
Minutes later, Walker took advantage of a mismatch at the top of the perimeter and drove down the right side of the lane, laying another basket off the backboard to put Loyola up 15 in the final 90 seconds.
He also had a season-best nine rebounds against George Washington.
Big Shots From Bobby
Robert Olson was just a point behind Shane Walker for team-high honors at Mount St. Mary’s, finishing with a season-high 19. He was 6-of-11 from the field and 3-of-7 from behind the arc.
He scored 16 of his points after halftime, making a three 43 ticks in after the Mountaineers had cut Loyola’s lead to four. He then had a traditional 3-point play and one from behind the arc in consecutive possessions with less than five minutes left to push the Greyhounds lead to 12 on two occasions.
Best Start In Division I History
Loyola’s victory against Siena on December 3 moved the Greyhounds’ record to 6-1 and gave the 2011-2012 team the best start in school Division I history, improving on the 5-1 start the Greyhounds achieved in 2005-2006.
The Greyhounds also are 2-0 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for the first time in the 23 years in the league.
Back-To-Back Career Nights
Dylon Cormier tied his previous career-high of 20 points against both Coppin State and UMBC earlier this season, matching the amount he scored last season as a freshman, also against UMBC.
He recorded his third 20-point effort of the season on December 3 at Siena, scoring 22, and he set another career-high one game later with a game-best 26 in the win over George Washington.
This season, Cormier has averaged 18.3 points per game through eight games, scoring 15 or more five times. Last season, Cormier scored 10 or more in 12 games, something he has already done eight times this year.
His points have come in a variety of ways. At Siena, he knocked down 5-of-6 threes, while against the Colonials, he posted 10-of-13 from the free-throw line. Earlier in the year, he scored 20 at UMBC behind a 15-of-17 effort from the charity stripe.
Cormier also registered a career-best nine rebounds against George Washington.
Crashing The Boards
Loyola has outrebounded opponents by 54 this season, 441-387, through 12 games this season.
The Greyhounds’ advantage has been even more dramatic on the offensive glass where they have outrebounded opponents, 175-126. They have pulled down offensive boards on nearly 40-percent of missed field goals and free throws this season.
The offensive rebounds have come from guards and forwards. Guard Dylon Cormier leads the team with 31, while forward Erik Etherly is right behind with 30. Guard Justin Drummond has 26, and forward Shane Walker, 24.
Loyola caused 20 Siena turnovers, and the Greyhounds were credited with 19 steals. R.J. Williams led the way with a career-high five, while Erik Etherly, Dylon Cormier and Robert Olson each had three.
The 19 steals are the second-most in school history, one more than the Greyhounds posted in a November 29, 1997, game at Kent State. It is also the most Loyola has recorded against a Division I opponent. The school single-game record of 20 came on February 28, 1996, when the team closed the regular-season against St. Mary’s (Md.).
Consistency Is The Key
Up until the George Washington win, three Loyola players – Dylon Cormier (13, 20, 20, 16, 14, 15, 22), Shane Walker (12, 15, 12, 15, 10, 11, 10) and Erik Etherly (11, 15, 27, 11, 15, 14, 11) have scored in double figures in each of the Greyhounds’ first seven games, something never accomplished by the same three players in the program’s Division I history.
Walker was held to just four against the Colonials, but Cormier finished with 26, and Etherly had 12.
The last time three Loyola players scored 10 or more over a six-game stretch was the 1997-1998 season when Mike Powell, Jason Rowe and Roderick Platt accomplished the task in consecutive games from January 25-February 15, 1998. Loyola was 5-1 in those games.
The Greyhounds had not had the same three players score 10 or more in four-straight games since Gerald Brown, Marquis Sullivan and Michael Tuck did it against Rider, UC-Davis, Canisius and Marist from February 18-March 2, 2008. Loyola was 3-1 during that stretch.
Runs have been a big part of the Greyhounds’ success early this year. Here is a look at some runs of note:
|Coppin State||10-1, 4:26||31-32, 1:36 (1)||41-33, 17:11 (2)|
|UMBC||16-4, 8:08||35-31, 19:16 (2)||51-34, 11:08 (2)|
|FGCU||22-5, 6:53||15-16, 8:08 (1)||37-21, 1:11 (1)|
|Marist||9-0, 1:50||47-48, 11:16 (2)||56-48, 9:26 (2)|
|Marist||15-3, 5:47||61-57, 6:03 (2)||76-60, :16 (2)|
|Siena||13-0; 4:27||0-2, 19:28 (1)||13-2; 15:35 (1)|
|Geo. Wash.||17-0; 3:58||18-19, 6:28 (1)||34-19, 2:30 (1)|
|The Mount||9-0, 1:55||24-26, 1:59 (1)||33-26, :04 (1)|
Triple Digit Blocks
Shane Walker’s block of a Kevin Cantinol layup 1:25 into the second half against Florida Gulf Coast was the 100th rejection of his Loyola career. He is now one of three Greyhounds all-time to log 100 or more blocked shots, joining Brian Carroll (217, 1997-2001) George Sereikas (117, 1989-1993).
Head Coach Jimmy Patsos became the third coach in Loyola history to win 100 games when the Greyhounds defeated UMBC, 73-63, on the road. Patsos, who is in his eighth season, took over a team that finished 1-27 during the 2002-2003 season. He won his 100th game in his 215th career game.
Last season, Patsos moved into third-place all time at Loyola in victories, trailing only Lefty Reitz (349 wins, 1937-44, 1945-61) and Nap Doherty (165, 1961-74).
|Loyola All-Time Coaching Wins List|
|1.||349||Lefty Reitz||1937-1944, 1945-1961|
Two Of A Kind
Although unofficial, research shows that Jimmy Patsos is one of only two coaches in the last 20 years to take over a team that won just one game the year prior to his arrival.
Brigham Young finished the 1996-1997 season with a 1-25 record. Steve Cleveland took over the following season and tallied 138 wins until his departure for Fresno State after the 2004-2005 season.
Men’s & Women’s Coaches With 100
Loyola University Maryland is one of just 26 mid-major schools that has men’s and women’s basketball coaches with 100 or more victories at their current school after Greyhound women’s coach Joe Logan got his 100th on December 18 in a win at George Washington.
Loyola is the only school in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to have accomplished the feat, and it is one of only five institutions at which the coaches have both won 100 or more games in 10 or fewer seasons.
Getting To The Line
As a team, Loyola went to the free-throw line 46 times at UMBC, making 31. The 46 attempts are the sixth-most all-time and most since the 2004-2005 squad attempted 53 on December 5, 2004, against Niagara.
Loyola’s 31 free throws made rank 11th on the school single-game chart and were the most since making 32 on January 14, 2009, versus NJIT.
Although his shot was not falling at UMBC, Dylon Cormier still found ways to be productive on the offensive end of the floor. The sophomore guard was just 2-of-9 from the field, but he went to the free-throw line 17 times, making 15, and finished with 20 points.
Cormier’s 15 free throws made are tied for sixth in Loyola single-game history, matching the total made by Mike Powell at Saint Peter’s on December 6, 1997, and Donovan Thomas against Marist on February 23, 2003. The 15 makes were the most by a Loyola player since Jamal Barney set the school record with 18 on January 14, 2009, against NJIT. His 17 attempts rank tied for sixth all-time.
Baltimore Bred And More From Nearby
Since taking over as head coach in 2004, Jimmy Patsos has put an emphasis on recruiting locally, and it has never shown as much as on this year’s roster. Three players – sophomore guard Dylon Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons), sophomore forward Jordan Latham (City) and freshman guard R.J. Williams (St. Frances) are products of schools within the city limits.
Six more players played in high school within 50 miles of Loyola, as the crow flies (thanks daftlogic.com): Shane Walker & Tyler Hubbard, Montrose Christian, 32.6 miles; Robert Olson, Georgetown Prep, 33.9; Justin Drummond, Riverdale Baptist, 33.9; Anthony Winbush, T.C. Williams, 43.7; and Erik Etherly, Annandale, 47.9
The Greyhounds play two more games at Reitz Arena this week, hosting Manhattan on Thursday, January 5, at 7:30 p.m., before welcoming Canisius on Saturday, January 7, at 12 noon.