Loyola tries to bounce back Saturday against Boston University

February 14, 2014 | WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Boston U. Terriers

Saturday, February 15, 2014  |  8:00 p.m.

Baltimore, Md. | Reitz Arena  |  MASN

 

Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

The Greyhounds return to Reitz Arena for a Saturday night game on February 15 against fellow Patriot League newcomer Boston University at 8 p.m.

The game will be televised live on MASN, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. SNY will simulcast the game in the New York, Connecticut and New Jersey regions.

Loyola has won five of six Patriot League games in Reitz Arena this season.

The Greyhounds are 7-3 overall at home this season.

Loyola is shooting 7.4 percent better in games at Reitz Arena as compared to those away from home (.456-.382). It also averages nearly two assists more (12.1-10.3) and a turnover less (11.2-12.4).
Last Time Out

Lafayette led Loyola by seven at halftime, but the Leopards hit four 3-pointers during an 18-5 run early in the second half to break open a lead of as many as 24 on Wednesday night in a 61-44 Patriot League win in Easton, Pa.

The Greyhounds opened the game by making eight of their first 12 shots (66.7 percent), but they made just eight more field goals in the game’s final 31 minutes, shooting 16.7 percent (6-of-36) thereafter.

Franz Rassman scored eight points in the first nine minutes and finished tied with R.J. Williams for team-high honors with 10 points.

Loyola outrebounded the Leopards, 34-28.

 

Turn The Television On

Saturday’s game will be the final appearance for Loyola on MASN, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, this season. A continuing partnership between the school and the network led to five games being televised this year.

Mark Viviano will call the play-by-play, while Jack Armstrong will handle analyst duties.

The game will also be simulcast live on SNY in the New York, Connecticut and New Jersey areas.

 

Series History Versus Boston U.

Loyola and Boston U. will meet for the fourth time in as many years and fifth overall when they take the hardwood on Monday night.

Loyola has won two of the last three, but the Terriers’ 72-58 win on January 20 in Boston evened the all-time series at 2-2.

In that game, Loyola lead 21-12 on a Denzel Brito jumper midway through the first half, but the Terriers closed the half on a 20-6 run and came away with the win.

Prior to both teams joining the Patriot League for the 2013-2014 season, Loyola hosted the Terriers in 2012 as part of the ESPN Bracketbuster series and 2013 in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.

The Terriers won the first meeting, 71-51, in the first round of the Sports Foundation Classic on December 27, 1996, in Tampa, Fla.

In the February 19, 2012, Bracketbuster game at Reitz Arena, Loyola shot 71.4 percent from the field in the second half to distance itself in a 69-56 decision that gave the Greyhounds their 20th win of the season for the first time as a Division I program (since 1981-82). Robert Olson made four 3-pointers after halftime, and five in the game, and finished with 17 to lead Loyola.

Last year, in the CIT First Round on March 19, Loyola trailed the Terriers by as many as 15 points in the second half. The Greyhounds, however, used a 38-16 run over the last 15-plus minutes of the game to beat Boston U., 70-63. Malik Thomas put the Terriers up 15 with 15:32 to play, but the Greyhounds went on their run from there. Dylon Cormier and Robert Olson both scored 16 for Loyola, and R.J. Williams had a then-career-high seven assists.

 

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.

 

Academic Honors For Rassman

Last week, sophomore forward Franz Rassman was named to the Capital One Academic All-America District II Team for his excellence in the classroom.

Rassman, who has started 20-of-21 games and is averaging 5.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, is now eligible for Academic All-America honors along with district honorees from around the nation.

 

Cormier Has Hand Surgery

Dylon Cormier, the leading scorer in the Patriot League (21.2 points per game) fractured his left hand in a loose-ball scramble on Saturday, February 1, against the U.S. Military Academy, and he had surgery on February 5 to stabilize the break, likely ending his season.

Cormier was also second in the Patriot League in steals (2.2) and fifth in rebounds (5.8) at the time of his injury.

 

First Nine, Last Thirty-One

When Franz Rassman scored on a post move with 11:28 left in the first half Wednesday evening at Lafayette, it gave Loyola a 16-15 lead. It was also the Greyhounds’ eight field goal in 12 attempts to start the game.

Loyola, however, would not be able to sustain its 66.7 percent shooting for the rest of the game as it made just eight more field goals in the game’s final 31:28. After Rassman’s basket, which would give him eight points in the first nine minutes, the Greyhounds were 8-of-36 (16.7 percent), a drop of an even 50 percent from the field.

The second half on Wednesday was the Greyhounds’ worst second stanza of the season. They made just 24 percent of its shots (6-of-25) after halftime. It was also the team’s second worst half of the season, trailing only a 23.1 percent performance in the first half at Holy Cross.

 

Turnover Trouble For A Game

Compounding the shooting woes on Wednesday night at Lafayette, Loyola had 17 turnovers against the Leopards, its second highest total of the season (18 vs. Navy, 1/2/14). Of those 17 giveaways, only five came from Lafayette steals.

It was just the fifth time this season that the Greyhounds have committed more turnovers than their opponents. They are 2-3 in those games.

Turnovers have not been a major issue for the Greyhounds this season. They are averaging 11.9 giveaways per game this year, third fewest in the Patriot League. Additionally, Loyola is tops in the conference in turnover margin, averaging 2.25 fewer per game than its opponents. That is just under 1.0 better than the second place team in the League (BU, +1.27).

Through games of February 13, Loyola is 46th in Division I in turnover margin.

 

Laster Impression

Eric Laster scored a career-high 17 points on February 8 at Lehigh, eclipsing his previous high of 16 set in November at UMBC.

Laster made six field goals, also a career-high, and three free throws, versus the Mountain Hawks. He had four rebounds and three assists for Loyola, too.

Through 24 games, 22 starts, this year, Laster is second on the team with an 8.0 points per game average. He is shooting 40.2 percent from the field and 39.5 percent form 3-point range. The sophomore also has averaged 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.

In 27 games as a freshman in 2011-2012, Laster averaged 0.8 points and 0.4 rebounds in 5.3 minutes of action per game.

 

Block Party

Jordan Latham and Jarred Jones have combined for 13 blocked shots in the last three games for the Greyhounds, helping Loyola take over the Patriot League lead in blocked shots per game (4.3).

Latham had four versus American last Wednesday, and Jones tallied four at Lehigh.

Jones then had a pair at Lafayette to take over the team lead from Latham. The duo is sixth and seventh, respectively, in blocked shots per game in the Patriot League, averaging 1.3 and 1.2 a contest.

 

Latham Lately

Before moving back into the starting five against Lafayette, Jordan Latham had been productive in three games off the bench. In those three games, the senior from Baltimore averaged 10.3 points per game and has back-to-back performances of 10 and 13 against American and Lehigh.

Earlier this season, Latham scored 14 and 12 versus Lehigh and Lafayette, marking the first time in his career he had topped double figures in two-straight games.

This season, Latham is shooting 41.7 percent from the field, but he has made 56.5 percent of his attempts (13-of-23) against Army, American and Lehigh.

He also blocked four shots versus the Eagles, two against the Mountain Hawks. Overall, Loyola is 6-2 this year when Latham blocks two or more shots.

 

Hubbard Hits From Deep

Tyler Hubbard had one of the best 3-point shooting nights in school history last Wednesday against American, making 6-of-7 attempts on his way to a career-high 20 points.

Hubbard’s six threes are tied for sixth-most in school single-game history, and they were the most since Robert Olson and J’hared Hall both hit six in a game at Manhattan on January 7, 2011.

The sophomore out of Washington, D.C., made three in both halves with his only miss coming in the first. He also made both of his free throw attempts after being fouled with 25 seconds left. He eclipsed his previous career-high of 17 scored on 6-of-7 shooting, 4-of-5 from behind the arc, in a November 14, 2012, game against UMBC.

A week earlier, Hubbard scored his previous season-high of 13 at College of the Holy Cross when he made 4-of-6 from deep. He is now 33-of-82 (40.2 percent) from 3-point range this season and has made at least one three in 19-of-22 games.

 

Winning Without Boards

Loyola posted a season-low 17 rebounds on February 5 against American, but the Greyhounds also had the distinction of tying the mark for the fewest rebounds in a win by a NCAA Division I team this season (according to Stats, Inc.)

Delaware and Indiana State also had 17 rebounds in wins over College of Charleston and Pepperdine, respectively, this season. Ironically, Delaware’s win with 17 boards came on the same day as Loyola victory over American.

 

Jones On The Defensive End

While he has scored just seven points in Loyola’s last three games, Jarred Jones has continued to be a solid defensive player for the Greyhounds. In those games, he has blocked eight shots and come up with seven steals.

He had four blocked shots at Lehigh to match his career-high set in the season-opener at Binghamton. He now leads the team with 30 total blocked shots and is sixth in the conference with 1.3 per game.

Jones is also ninth in the Patriot League in steals per game after nabbing four against American. He averages 1.5 per game with a total of 35.

 

Gorski Garners Starting Role

Freshman post player Nick Gorski drew his first starting assignment as a collegian on February 8 against Army, and the Richmond, Va., native scored nine points in 22 minutes of action.

The start came on the heels of his first extended playing time since December. He made all three of his field goals and both of his free-throw attempts last Wednesday, finishing with career-highs of nine points and five rebounds in 18 minutes at Holy Cross.

Prior to the last six games Gorski had seen 10 or more minutes just twice this season. He tallied 13 minutes and scored seven points in an overtime win at Cornell, and he then played 16 minutes on December 21 against Saint Joseph’s.

His 18 points in the two games against Holy Cross and Army nearly doubled his previous output this season. He entered the Holy Cross game with 23 points through 16 contests.

 

Setting Up The Shots

R.J. Williams finished the February 1 game against Army with nine assists, one off his career-high of 10 set on January 13 against Lafayette.

Williams is sixth in the Patriot League in assists per game (4.1). He had 34 assists in eight non-conference games, and he entered January and Patriot League action averaging 3.8 per game. Since then, Williams has 53 assists in 12 games for an average of 4.4.

The junior from Baltimore has also increased his scoring average during Patriot League play. Overall he is averaging 7.7 points per game, 8.0 against conference opponents.

Williams also grabbed a career-high tying seven rebounds on February 1 against Army, bumping his Patriot League average to 3.0 per game.

 

Gotta Get To The Line

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 more than seven fewer times in losses than wins (27.7-19.9).

 

Away From The Friendly Confines

Loyola lost its 11th straight road game on February 12 at Lafayette after winning its first three this season away from Reitz Arena. At 3-11 on the road, the Greyhounds are shooting 38.2 percent as opposed to 45.4 percent while going 7-3 at home. Opponents are shooting 46.4 percent in their own facilities, 42.4 percent in Reitz Arena.

Loyola does shoot slightly better from 3-point range on the road, making 31.2 percent of shots from behind the arc as compared to 28.0 at home.

The Greyhounds turn the ball over at a rate of one per game more on the road (12.4-11.2), and they also force an additional turnover at home (14.9-13.4).

With these factors, the Greyhounds are averaging nearly nine points less per game on the road, 62.7, to their 71.3 points per game at home.

 

Sticky Fingers

The Greyhounds posted 11 steals against American on February 5, marking the fifth time in 13 Patriot League games that they have grabbed 10 or more. Through February 14, Loyola leads the League with 8.5 steals overall.

Through games of February 13, the Greyhounds are tied for 16th nationally with 8.5 steals per game. Loyola has had 11 or more steals in eight games through 24 contests.

R.J. Williams leads the Patriot League,and is 14th nationally in steals per game (2.4), while Dylon Cormier is second (2.19) and 24th.

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. He now has 185 in his career.

With 117 in his career, Williams is 11th on the career chart.

 

Cormier’s Scoring

Dylon Cormier has been one of the top scorers in the nation this season, averaging 21.2 points per game through 21 and the time of his injury. Through games of Thursday, February 6, Cormier was 13th in the nation in points per game.

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 21 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. At the time of his injury, Cormier now had 1,659 career points through 115 career games.

 

Telling Stat

In Loyola’s 14 losses this season, the Greyhounds are shooting more than nine percent worse from the floor than they are in their eight victories.

Loyola has made 47.0 percent (249-of-530) shots in 10 wins versus 37.2 percent (299-of-803) in 14 losses. As a consequence, Loyola is averaging 15.2 less (74.8 versus 59.6) points per game.

As one would expect, opponents are shooting better (47.1-42.5) in the games they’ve won.

 

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 entered 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:

 

Scoring
7th 1,659 points
Next Mike Krawczyk, 1,676
Field Goals Made
10th 552 field goals made
Next Gene Gwiazdowski, 565
3-Pointers Made
13th 96 3-Pt. Made
Next B.J. Davis, 104
Free Throws Made
2nd 459 free throws made
Next Jim Lacy, 613
Assists
20th 210 assists
Next Dave Wojick, 219
Steals
2nd 185 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.

 

Up Next

The Greyhounds remain at home for their next game, hosting Bucknell University on Wednesday, February 19, at 7:30 p.m.

Following that game, Loyola travels to Hamilton, N.Y., for a Saturday, February 22, game at Colgate University.

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