Loyola Looks To Keep Streak Going Sunday at St. Bonaventure

December 18, 2011 | WNST Staff

Opponent St. Bonaventure Bonnies
Date Sunday, December 18, 2011
Time 2:30 p.m.
Location St. Bonaventure, N.Y. | Reilly Center
TV St. Bonaventure Webstream
Series Record St. Bonaventure leads, 7-0
Last Meeting St. Bonaventure 98, Loyola 73 – Jan. 27, 1975 at St. Bona.

Game Data

Loyola University Maryland will return to the court, after taking the week off for final exams, on Sunday, December 18, to take on St. Bonaventure University at 2:30 p.m.

The eight-day layoff the Greyhounds will close is their longest of the season.

Series History

The Greyhounds will be looking for their first-ever win against St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies have won all seven of the previous games.

The teams first met on the hardwood in March 1927, a 33-18 St. Bonaventure victory. The sides met again in 1936-1937 and then not again until Nap Doherty’s Greyhounds took on the Bonnies on December 22, 1967. They met again during the 1969-1970 and 1970-1971 seasons when St. Bonaventure was ranked No. 5 and No. 19 by The Associated Press. Bona’s 1969-1970 team, a squad that advanced to the Final Four with future Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Lanier in his senior year, was the highest-ranked team Loyola would face until playing No. 3 Kansas on January 8, 2008.

Sunday’s game will be the first meeting between the teams since January 27, 1975, a 98-73 St. Bonaventure win.

A Good Run

Since falling at Wake Forest on November 11 in the season-opener, the Greyhounds have reeled off eight-straight victories. The winning streak is 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.

Honors Abound For Cormier

Loyola sophomore guard Dylon Cormier picked up a couple of awards for his recent play last week, earning Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Week and Jesuit Basketball Spotlight National Player of the Week honors, 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 (17.8), 3-point percentage (.452), steals (1.9) and is third in rebounding (5.0).

Garnering Attention

Loyola’s eight-game winning streak has received more attention of late from the national media. The Greyhounds were ranked 15th in the latest edition of the ESPN.com Mid-Major Power 15 Rankings, and they checked in at 23rd in the current CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25.

It is the first time Loyola has been ranked in the CollegeInsider.com poll since late in the 2007-2008 season.

The Greyhounds are one of two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference teams – Iona the other – that is ranked in both polls. The Gaels are 11th on ESPN.com, fifth in the CollegeInsider.com edition.

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.

Doing It On Defense

Mount St. Mary’s pulled within five points, 46-41, with 9:01 left in the second half last Saturday, but the Greyhounds defense keyed their next run.

Loyola went on a modest 7-0 run that covered four minutes, 20 seconds, but the forced a Mount turnover and did not allow an offensive rebound during the stretch. On the offensive end, the Greyhounds scored on three of five possessions, using a good chunk of the shot clock each time.

Timing Was Right

Justin Drummond scored all nine of his points in the first half at Mount St. Mary’s, although he did not make his first two field goals until less than 90 seconds were left in the stanza.

Aggressive play by Drummond, on the offensive glass and driving to the basket, put Drummond at the free throw line for six attempts, of which he made five, in the game’s first 17 minutes.

With under a 90 seconds in the first half, Drummond twice took the ball on the low block, backed his defender down and scored off the glass. His four points were in the middle of a 9-0 run Loyola used to close the half and go from two down to seven up at the break.

Streak Snapped

Erik Etherly did not score on Saturday at Mount St. Mary’s, marking the first time in 39 games at Loyola the forward has been held without a point. It also snapped a 19-game streak of scoring 10 or more points for Etherly.

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.

Last Time Out

Mount St. Mary’s came out strong in the 167th all-time meeting between the teams, taking a five point lead in the first half, but Loyola scored the final nine points of the frame to go up by seven on a Shane Walker three with four ticks left on the clock.

Julian Norfleet pulled The Mount to within four on two occasions early in the second half, but Robert Olson made one of his three 3-pointers the first time, and a 5-0 mini-run fueled by four Shane Walker points pulled the Greyhounds further in front.

Norfleet led all scorers with 23, but Walker was close behind with 20, and Olson had 19. Dylon Cormier added 15, while Anthony Winbush led all players with eight rebounds, a season-high.

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.

Doubled Up

Erik Etherly posted his second double-double in three games, scoring 12 points to go with a career-high tying 15 rebounds at George Washington. This season, Etherly has double-doubles in half of the Greyhounds’ eight games, and all four have come in victories. Wednesday night’s effort was the ninth of his career.

Up to and including that game, Etherly scored in double-figures for 19-straight games, starting January 28, 2011, against Siena. In those 19 games, Etherly averaged 14.3 points per game.

Threes Starting To Fall

After starting the season cold from behind the 3-point arc – the Greyhounds made just 11-of-56 (.196) in their first four games – Loyola has seemingly reversed the trend, making 35-of-77 (.454) in its last five contests.

The Greyhounds were 6-of-16 (.375) against Florida Gulf Coast, 8-of-15 (.533) in the Marist tilt, 8-of-19 (.421) at Siena, a season-best 6-of-11 (.545) at George Washington and 7-of-16 (.438) at Mount St. Mary’s.

During the last five contests, Dylon Cormier has made 10-of-16 (.625) 3-pointers, while Robert Olson has hit 10-of-23 (435). R.J. Williams is 4-of-7 (.571); Justin Drummond, 5-of-12 (.417); and Shane Walker, 5-of-15 (.333).

Crashing The Boards

Loyola has outrebounded opponents by 63 this season, 352-289, through nine games, an average of 7.0 per contest.

The Greyhounds’ advantage has been even more dramatic on the offensive glass where they have outrebounded opponents, 143-101. They have pulled down offensive boards on nearly 50-percent of missed shots this season.

Last Saturday’s eight offensive rebounds against Mount. St. Mary’s were the fewest Loyola has had this season and the first time it has grabbed less than 13 offensive boards.

The offensive rebounds have come from guards and forwards. Dylon Cormier, Shane Walker and Erik Etherly lead the team with 23 each, while Justin Drummond is right behind with 22. Anthony Winbush has 12.

Productive Minutes For Latham

Jordan Latham played a career-high 18 minutes for Loyola in the frontcourt at Mount St. Mary’s. While the 6-foot-8 forward scored just two points, he played solid interior defense for the Greyhounds that included swatting a shot into the third row of the stands.

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.).

Stopping A Scorer

The Greyhounds’ scouting report heading into the George Washington game focused on stopping the Colonials’ leading scorer, Tony Taylor. Mission accomplished.

The Greyhounds yielded just six points to Taylor, who averaged more than 15 per game entering the contest. Taylor, who was also honored before the game for recently scoring his 1,000th career point, made just 3-of-8 shot attempts and was held with a 3-point make.

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.

Thievery

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.

R.J. Racks Up More Minutes

Freshman R.J. Williams made the first start of his collegiate career on November 20 at New Hampshire and has started the four games since then, playing 31 or more minutes in each.

With the increased playing time, Williams has also seen more productivity. After scoring eight points in the first four games of the season, he has scored eight versus both Florida Gulf Coast and Marist. Against the Red Foxes, he finished with a career-high six assists, the most by a Loyola player this season.

Four of Williams’ assists came in the final 11:16 of the game as Loyola outscored Marist, 29-15, during that stretch.

Williams continued his solid play against Siena, dishing out four assists to go with six points and a career-high five steals.

Spreading The Wealth

Five Loyola players scored in double figures in the Marist contest, the second time this season (Coppin State) the Greyhounds have had five score 10 or more.

In the first seven games of the season, at least three Loyola players have scored 10 or more in every game, and in all but one, four or more have topped the 10-point mark.

In the Greyhounds’ January 30 victory last year over Iona, six players scored in double-figures, and the team’s top two scorers at the time did not even dress for the contest. It was the first time that a Loyola team had six players score in double figures since December 6, 1991, when the Greyhounds matched the feat in a 98-84 overtime home victory against Mount St. Mary’s.

Running Away

Runs have been a big part of the Greyhounds’ success early this year. Here is a look at some runs of note:

Opponent Run Start Finish
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).

Century Mark

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
2. 165 Nap Doherty 1961-1974
3. 106 Jimmy Patsos 2004-present
4. 85 Mark Amatucci 1982-1989
5. 72 Gary Dicovitsky 1976-1981

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.

Two Over Twenty

Erik Etherly and Dylon Cormier both hit, or exceeded, the 20-point plateau at UMBC with Etherly scoring 27 and Cormier chipping in 20.

It marked the first time since January 3, 2009, a stretch of 80 games, that a pair of Greyhounds scored 20 in the same game. On that date, Jamal Barney poured in 41 at Canisius, while Brett Harvey had 22.

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.

Cormier At His Best Against City Competition

Dylon Cormier matched his career-high with 20 points on Monday night in the win over Coppin State, and he matched that total, also finished with that same total on Thursday against UMBC.

The pair of 20-point performances match his freshman-year high of 20, also against UMBC, in the second game of his collegiate career.

Through three games this season, Cormier is averaging 17.3 points after leading the Greyhounds with 13 in the opener against Wake Forest. He is shooting 51.6-percent (16-of-31) from the field, third on the team.

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.

What’s Next?

The Greyhounds continue their current six-game road trip with one more game before Christmas. Loyola will face the nation’s current No. 3 team, Kentucky, in Rupp Arena on Thursday, December 22, at 1 p.m. in a game that will be televised on Fox Sports South and air on many Fox Sports affiliates nationwide.

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