Loyola University Maryland wraps up its season-opening road trip on Sunday, November 10, at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
The game is the first of a two-game series that will see the Big Red visit Loyola’s Reitz Arena next season.
G.G. Smith won his first game of his head coaching career on Friday night at Binghamton. He became the 20th head coach in Loyola history on April 12, 2013, after spending the last six seasons as an assistant on the Greyhounds’ bench.
The win was the Greyhounds’ second-straight in season openers.
Loyola returns eight players from a team that went 23-12 last year.
Last Time Out
Loyola led for just over a quarter of the game (11:02), but came away with a 79-74 season-opening win over Binghamton University on Friday night in Vestal, N.Y.
Dylon Cormier and Jarred Jones scored 33 and 22 points, respectively, career-highs for both.
Cormier gave the Greyhounds the lead for good on a free-throw with 1:58 to play, as Loyola held the Bearcats without a field goal for the final 2:44.
Jones also blocked four shots, two coming on layups that would have given Binghamton the lead in the final 2:10.
The Greyhounds shot 50 percent from the field and held Binghamton to 39.1.
Loyola opened its 2013-2014 campaign Friday night with a 79-74 win over Binghamton. The Greyhounds led for just 11 minutes, 3 seconds of the game, but they held the Bearcats without a field goal for the final 2:44.
Binghamton scored the first seven points of the game before Dylon Cormier scored out of a timeout at the 17:06 mark. The Bearcats extended their first-half lead to nine, 17-8, on two Jordan Reed free throws at 13:34, but Loyola scored the next seven points to get within a pair on Nick Gorski’s first collegiate points, a layup at 10:19.
An Eric Laster three at 5:03 gave the Greyhounds their first lead of the game, 29-26, and his second three of the half, at 3:11, put Loyola up six.
Binghamton cut the lead to one at halftime and went back in front early in the second half. It led by six twice in the second half, but Loyola scored seven in a row after the second occurrence to take a lead of its own.
In The Final Five
Loyola outscored Binghamton, 14-4, in the final five minutes of Friday night’s game, holding the Bearcats to 1-of-6 from the field. Meanwhile, the Greyhounds made 3-of-5 field goals and 7-of-9 free throws.
Dylon Cormier scored nine of the 14 for Loyola during that stretch, hitting a three, a transition layup and 4-of-5 free throws.
Defensively, Loyola forced three Binghamton turnovers, all coming on Greyhounds steals, two by Eric Laster and one by Cormier. R.J. Williams was involved in two of the three turnovers, forcing the action to create steal opportunities.
Jarred Jones also had two key blocked shots during the stretch (more later).
Cormier Leads The Way
Dylon Cormier rebounded from a slow start – he was just 3-of-11 from the field in the first half – to score 21 in the second 20 minutes. The senior guard was 7-of-11, and 2-of-3 from 3-point range, after the break.
His 31 points eclipsed his previous career best of 27, set last November in a win at Coppin State University. He also tied his career-high with 10 field goals made, and his 22 attempts were also a career-high.
Twelve of Cormier’s points came in the game’s final 10 minutes, and nine of them were in the last five.
Cormier’s 31 points were the most by a Loyola player since Jamal Barney dropped 40 on NJIT in a January 14, 2009, game at Reitz Arena.
Jones Breaks Out
Jarred Jones had a career night in the season-opener against Binghamton, recording personal bests in points (22), rebounds (7), field goals made (8), field goal attempts (11) and blocked shots (4).
The sophomore carries Loyola’s offense in the first half when it was otherwise stagnant, scoring nine points in just over five minutes. During that span, Loyola scored just two other points, but a Jones layup at 11:12 closed the Binghamton lead to four.
Jones tied for game-high, and led Loyola, with six offensive rebounds. His boards led to 10 Greyhounds points.
While his offensive production was critical, his four blocked shots were just as important. Jones swatted two Binghamton layups with weak-side help in the final 2:10 of regulation. The first block came in transition, and the second was on a drive from the left side. Both shots would have given Binghamton the lead if not for the blocks.
Led by Jarred Jones’ 22, Loyola non-starters scored 32 points, and several of them were key during the first half when Binghamton had opened up a lead of nine.
In a three possession stretch, Nick Gorski scored his first career points by grabbing an offensive board and laying it back in, and then Tyler Hubbard hit a three from the top left of the perimeter at 9:40, making it a two-point game. The next trip down the court, R.J. Williams found Denzel Brito who knocked down a three for his first points in a Greyhounds uniform.
The points were the only of the game for Hubbard and Gorski, and Brito added two free throws with less than three seconds left to seal the victory.
The bench players also contributed 17 of the Greyhounds’ 37 rebounds with Jones leading the team with seven and Brito chipping in six, all on the defensive end. Brito also led all players with three assists.
Three players made their Greyhound debuts on Friday night with two of them seeing their first collegiate action. Nick Gorski and Damion Rashford both played their first college basketball game, while Denzel Brito saw his first action for Loyola Maryland.
Brito transferred prior to the 2012-2013 season from Loyola University Chicago where he started 21 games, and appeared in 54, over two seasons for the Ramblers. He played 25 minutes in his Greyhounds debut after more than 20 months without playing a collegiate game.
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.
Meet The Staff
Joining G.G. Smith on the Greyhounds’ bench this season will be assistant coaches Keith Booth, Josh Loeffler and Dan Ficke and director of operations Kevin Farrell.
Booth spent the last two seasons as an assistant women’s coach at Loyola after serving as an assistant to Gary Williams for seven years at the University of Maryland. An All-American and four-time All-ACC player at Maryland, Booth won an NBA Championship with the Chicago Bulls.
Loeffler brings considerable Patriot League experience with four seasons, and two League Championship Game appearances (2010 and 2011), at Lafayette College. He was also the head coach at NCAA Division III school Stevens Institute of Technology from guided the Ducks to a 46-13 record in two seasons and an NCAA Sweet 16 bid in 2007.
Ficke is a graduate and four-year lettermen of Loyola where he also earned his master’s degree. The last three seasons, Ficke has been a member of the staff at Wake Forest University where he was the Special Assistant to the Head Coach and Director of Scouting and Recruiting.
Farrell returns for his second season as the Greyhounds’ director of operations and sixth overall with the program. He was a four-year manager for the team as an undergraduate at Loyola.
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.
Seven players will make their Loyola debuts this season with the roster featuring two juniors who transferred from other schools, three redshirt freshmen and two true freshmen.
Denzel Brito will suit up for the Greyhounds after spending 2010-2012 at a different Jesuit school with a similar name: Loyola University Chicago. As a sophomore in 2011-2012, Brito started 21 games for the Ramblers and led the team in assists with 3.5 per game, while averaging 7.0 points and 2.5 rebounds. In their last four games, he averaged 11.0 points.
Stefano Mancini joined the team before the fall semester. The former Gatorade Player of the Year for the State of Maine spent the 2011-2012 season at the University of Maine.
Forward Josh Forney and guards Damion Rashford and Sean Tuohy Jr. all redshirted last season for the Greyhounds and will see their first collegiate action this season.
True freshmen Nick Gorski and Jevon Patton were the first signees by the new coaching staff at Loyola and joined the program this fall. Both Gorski and Patton led their respective high school programs to state titles in 2012-2013, Gorski at Benedictine Prep in Richmond, Va., and Patton at Olympic High School in Charlotte, N.C.
Gone, But Not Forgotten
Five players earned their Loyola degrees and left the program after exhausting their eligibility last season: forwards Erik Etherly and Julius Brooks, swingman Anthony Winbush and guards Robert Olson and Luke Wandrusch.
Etherly returned from an early-season shoulder injury to average 15.7 points and 6.5 rebounds while earning All-MAAC First Team and NABC All-District I Second Team honors for the second year in a row. He finished with 1,245 points and 669 rebounds in three seasons at Loyola.
Olson was the team’s third-leading scorer with 12.7 points per game, and he also averaged 4.2 rebounds as a guard. A 2012 All-MAAC Third Team member, Olson graduated with 1,264 career points and the second-most 3-pointers made in a career (211).
Winbush was the quintessential multi-role player for the Greyhounds; he saw action at every position but center last season offensively, and he frequently defended the opponents’ best player, regardless of position. He led the team in overall rebounds (197), was second in overall assists (76) and averaged 7.0 points per game.
Brooks provided toughness, rebounding and inside scoring for the Greyhounds, playing in 34 games and starting 10. He averaged 4.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and nearly a blocked shot a game as a senior.
Wandrusch was a four-year walk-on to the program who was a solid addition to the Greyhounds’ scout team.
New Year, New Coach, New League
Many things associated with the Loyola men’s basketball program have changed, such as first-year head coach G.G. Smith moving up after spending six years as an assistant on the Greyhounds’ bench.
Loyola will also be a member of the Patriot League for the first time in 2013-2014. The school announced in August 2012 that it would make the move to the conference, and the move became official on July 1, 2013.
The Greyhounds will compete against American University, fellow Patriot League newcomer Boston University, Bucknell University, Colgate University, College of the Holy Cross, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy.
Preseason Patriot League Picks
Loyola senior guard Dylon Cormier was one of five players named to the Preseason All-Patriot League First Team, an honor shared by Bucknell’s Cameron Ayers, Holy Cross’ Dave Dudzinski, Boston University’s D.J. Irving (player of the year) and Lehigh’s Mackey McKnight.
As a team, the Greyhounds were slated to finish fifth, just six points out of third place. Boston University was the unanimous pick to win the league, followed by Lafayette, Army, Bucknell, Loyola, Lehigh, Holy Cross, Colgate, American and Navy.
Series History Versus Cornell
Loyola and Cornell will play for the second time in series history on Sunday afternoon, the first coming when the teams met in the Preseason NIT on November 18, 2008, at Boston College.
The Big Red won that decision, 82-72, as Ryan Wittman led four players in double figures with 24 points.
Tony Lewis scored a career-high 23 points for Loyola, while Brett Harvey added 18, and Isaac Reid had 13.
Turn The TV On
In a continuing agreement with the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), five Loyola men’s basketball games will be broadcast by the regional sports network this season. Additionally, those games will be carried by various other RSNs nationwide.
The Greyhounds’ November 16 home-opener against former MAAC foe Fairfield University will be broadcast, as will the November 20 game at UMBC and the December 7affair at Mount St. Mary’s. MASN will also broadcast the Greyhounds’ February 15 game against Boston University. MASN will also pick up the ROOT Sports Pittsburgh feed of Loyola’s game at West Virginia University on December 2.
Two Loyola games will air nationally on CBS Sports Network as part of the Patriot League’s television package. The Greyhounds will be featured on back-to-back Mondaynights in January, starting with a January 13 game in Reitz Arena against Lafayette, followed by the January 20 contest at Boston University.
Another pair of games will also be televised, with SNY originating the November 26 game at the University of Connecticut and ESPN3 carrying the December 30 contest at the University of Miami.
Brito, Laster Spend Summer Overseas
Two Loyola players, – Denzel Brito and Eric Laster – gained valuable experience playing overseas during the summer of 2013.
Brito trained with the Cape Verdean National Team prior to their play in the FIBA African Championships. However, due to a FIBA exclusion, he was not able to participate in the event itself.
Laster played in five games on a tour that visited Belgium, England and The Netherlands. He was lauded for his wing play by writers who covered the events against professional teams in those countries.
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:
||Erik Etherly, 1,245
|Field Goals Made
||412 field goals made
||Tracy Bergan, 416
||79 3-Pt. Made
||Anthony Walker, 81
|Free Throws Made
||341 free throws made
||Gerald Brown, 365
||Mark Rhode, 179
||Mike Powell, 154
Latham On Blocks List
Jordan Latham now has 57 blocked shots in his two-plus seasons at Loyola. He is 11th all-time in that statistical category, one shy of tying Mike Wagner (1987-91) for 10th and two away from Anthony Smith (1995-97) in ninth.
Latham blocked a team-high 37 shots last year.
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.
The Greyhounds open the home portion of their 2013-2014 schedule on Saturday, November 16, with an 8 o’clock game against a familiar foe. Loyola hosts former MAAC opponent and fellow Jesuit school Fairfield in a game that will be televised on MASN.