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Posted on 11 July 2014 by Nick Dorsey
The longtime Texan star is entering the 12th season of his career and Andre Johnson wants out of Houston. Johnson is 33 years old and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting just a bit brighter. After going through a 2-14 season while hauling in passes from Case Keenum on a consistent basis, Johnson deserves an opportunity to be dealt to a contender.
Houston is not far out from contending for the AFC South division title and a shot back into the AFC playoff race, but they are missing the most crucial piece of a franchise. Johnson was patient enough to see if general manager Rick Smith would add a potential franchise quarterback through the draft, but Smith waited around to the fourth round to draft former Pitt QB Tom Savage.
With a quarterback battle ahead in training camp featuring Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and Tom Savage, Johnson has a right to be displeased with his situation. A player that has accounted for 221 receptions and 3,005 receiving yards the past two seasons deserves better than the weak QB depth he is presented with at this point in his career.
There are four teams rumored to be interested in the former Hurricane standouts services according to sources around the league. Two of the rumored teams standout as the perfect fit for the six-time pro-bowler.
After an off-season that featured an arms race between two AFC powerhouses, New England might not be done yet making big moves. Everyone saw the struggles Tom Brady had to endure last year with inconsistency at the wide receiver position. New England would be the number one ideal fit for Johnson at this time.
Tom Brady is desperate for a number one receiver and getting a dependable target like Johnson would certainly tickle his fancy. With the uncertainty of Amendola and Gronk’s health, bringing in Johnson would ease Brady’s comfort since Johnson hasn’t missed a game during the last two seasons.
This transaction is a possibility with the familiarity between new Texans head coach Bill O’Brien and Bill Belichick. The Patriots front office has pulled off trades for aging wide outs before such as Randy Moss and Chad Johnson, so this situation is not unrealistic.
There were all kinds of rumors during the off-season about O’Briens interest in acquiring Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett. With New England selecting Jimmy Garoppolo early in the 2014 NFL draft, Mallett is an asset that could be dealt. The Texans need another potential starting quarterback to at least compete in training camp and O’Brien has coached the former Razorback.
With the potential interest in Mallett, the Patriots front office could make this trade a possibility. New England would most likely have to give up a draft pick or two to go along with Mallett to get Johnson in a Pats uniform. This trade would certainly be worth the price because it would make New England the front-runner to represent the AFC in next year’s Super Bowl.
The other destination that could be a reality is the Carolina Panthers. After losing Steve Smith and other parts of the wide receiver corps, Carolina is lacking a true number one target.
The Panthers selected former Seminole Kelvin Benjamin in the first round, but that is not enough for Cam Newton. In a division that features the Saints with the Falcons and Bucs back on the rise, Carolina needs to make this move.
Getting a reliable target like Johnson as Newton’s go-to wide out would keep Carolina in contention for the NFC South title. Adding Johnson to the mix to go along with Benjamin and Olsen would make for a good three-headed receiving corps for Newton to work with.
Benjamin is entering his rookie season and will have to adjust to the speed of the next level. With Johnson entering the mix, it would allow for Benjamin to excel in the red zone while learning to stretch the rest of the field. It would than be up to Johnson and Olsen to work the rest of the field.
NBA Free Agency Dominoes
The NBA free agency period is unlike any other professional sports free agency. The NHL and NFL free agent markets open and teams rush right away to sign the top tier prospects. The NBA period is just a waiting game to see where the first star chooses to go and then the dominoes fall at a fast rate.
The first domino is LeBron James and his decision has the biggest impact on the league. Everyone is awaiting the “Decision 2.0” on whether he goes back home to Cleveland or South Beach because it determines where the rest of the stars of the free agent market go.
Every fan of the sport is frustrated in playing this waiting game, but is there anyone who can be more disturbed than Chris Bosh? The former member of the Heat’s big three has a max deal offer from the Houston Rockets on the table. Bosh is waiting on LeBron because if the King heads back down south, he will follow.
Bosh is playing this waiting game with LeBron, but he should take the max deal offer and become a Houston Rocket. Although the Rockets are in the more difficult Western Conference, the Rockets would have a much better shot at winning than the Heat.
With Bosh entering the mix with James Harden and Dwight Howard, there would be a new big three in the NBA. Harden is a versatile player who can get the rest of his teammates involved regularly or take over a game himself. Howard would make for a dominant presence inside and Bosh would compliment that style the best.
Chris Bosh during his days with the Heat tended to favor shooting around the perimeter. With Howard running the show inside, it would allow for Bosh to do what he feels most comfortable doing at this point in his career.
The Rockets need to react fast with Chandler Parsons signing an offer sheet with the Dallas Mavericks. If LeBron does not make a decision within the next few days, Houston will have to essentially make a salary cap decision to either match the Mavericks offer or hope that Bosh comes to Texas.
The Kings decision does more than just change up destinations for the free agent pool, it changes the landscape of the league. When the Akron native elected to go to south beach, the league went into a power team format. Franchises were signing several stars to one team in attempt to grab the Larry O’Brien trophy.
If the King elects to go back to Cleveland, the short era of superstar teams comes to an end. The Super team era showed its success during the four-season run as the Heat won two out of four championships. The other two losses were to teams that weren’t considered lineups with one or two superstars, but teams that played well together with several different complimentary pieces.
With the success that the Spurs have had in the past few years showing how they all work and play together as one unit, the landscape of the league could be swinging back to that style. When LeBron makes his decision final, that will be something to watch out for as the rest of the players find their homes.
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Posted on 04 September 2013 by WNST Staff
Glenn Clark’s Projections…
New England Patriots 9-7 (wins division via tiebreaker)
Miami Dolphins 9-7
New York Jets 3-13
Buffalo Bills 2-14
Cincinnati Bengals 12-4
Baltimore Ravens 11-5 (Wild Card 5 seed)
Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7
Cleveland Browns 5-11
Houston Texans 13-3
Indianapolis Colts 11-5 (Wild Card 6 seed)
Tennessee Titans 6-10
Jacksonville Jaguars 4-12
Denver Broncos 10-6
Kansas City Chiefs 9-7
San Diego Chargers 3-13
Oakland Raiders 2-14
Wild Card: Baltimore Ravens beat New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts beat Denver Broncos
Divisional: Baltimore Ravens beat Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans beat Indianapolis Colts
AFC Championship Game: Houston Texans beat Baltimore Ravens
(Continued on Page 2…)
Posted on 18 January 2013 by Luke Jones
Here are this weekend’s picks as The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction will pick every NFL game this season.
Drew Forrester finished 2-2 last week and Luke Jones was also 2-2 in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. Forrester is now 166-80 and Jones is 158-88 overall. Jones holds the edge in the postseason, however, with a 6-2 mark compared to Forrester’s 5-3 record. Official standings are only kept based on the NFL picks.
To hear their full explanation, click HERE.
Ravens at Patriots: Baltimore 33-24 (Drew), New England 31-27 (Luke)
49ers at Falcons: San Francisco 38-24 (Drew), San Francisco 30-24 (Luke)
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Posted on 19 March 2012 by Glenn Clark
It’s been a tough start to National Football League free agency for Baltimore Ravens fans.
Even for the most realistic fan of the Purple And Black (I’d like to think of myself in that group), it’s impossible to be excited about a six day span that has seen five players (LB Jarret Johnson, DL Cory Redding, G Ben Grubbs, S Tom Zbikowski, S Haruki Nakamura) depart, just one free agent (C Matt Birk) return and no free agents added to the roster.
The realistic Ravens fan knew this could be coming. Between them, the five players share just one Pro Bowl appearance (Grubbs was invited to Hawaii this season as an injury replacement) and all were able to cash in on the open market. The Ravens, having spent significant money during the regular season to extend would-be free agent DT Haloti Ngata decided none were “cornerstone” players and wouldn’t overpay to keep them.
The Ravens are instead working to spend a boatload of money to extend QB Joe Flacco and RB Ray Rice, both players they do believe are “cornerstone” parts of the organization.
The realistic fan also knows the Ravens still have work to do in free agency before the process is finished. It was revealed this week that return specialist (and part time Wide Receiver) Ted Ginn Jr. visited Owings Mills last week. The team could still look to find help along the Offensive Line and at Linebacker as well, and could even add another Safety at some point.
Additionally, the realistic fan is aware that the upcoming NFL Draft is likely to help shape the 2012 season for the defending AFC North champs, with some players (like WR Torrey Smith and DE Pernell McPhee) not likely to fully develop into contributors until after the season has started.
AND the realistic fan knows the 2012 season will also be defined in part by the continued development of young players. Entering the 2011 season, the team’s secondary was considered to be one of the bigger question marks about the roster. Just months later, the CB trio of Lardarius Webb, Cary Williams and Jimmy Smith represents one of the more solid units in football.
Yet even the most realistic Ravens fan still agonizes over the thought “can enough be done to get this team over the hump and into a Super Bowl for the first time in 12 years?”
A reasonable level of concern is understandable at this point. In addition to the pre-existing question marks facing the team (uneven O-Line play, lack of a size receiver, age and injury related decline from defensive playmakers, Special Teams issues), there are additional depth issues created by the first batch of free agent departures.
It’s an uneasy time for Ravens fans.
The majority of Ravens fans have not swayed far from reality in how they’ve viewed Week 1 of the actual NFL offseason. As can be expected, some have gone off the deep end entirely. The reminder I got Sunday could serve as a nice “reality check” itself for fans in both groups. It’s probably something you already know about.
I assume you’ve heard that free agent quarterback Matt Flynn agreed to a three year, $26 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks. As the deal involved only $10 million of guaranteed money, most analysts agreed it was a particularly fair and perhaps very good deal for a team that is trying to improve on a third place finish in the NFC West last season.
I actually think the deal was a great move for the Seahawks. In fact, just days ago during our weekly “Free Advice” segment on “The Reality Check” (weekdays 2-6pm on AM1570 WNST.net for the one of you that doesn’t listen already) I encouraged the Seahawks to pull the trigger on the move. I can only assume my endorsement was the final approval the team needed to get the deal done.
But the facts about Flynn don’t change. The quarterback was believed to have so little pro talent coming out of LSU that he slid to the seventh round of the NFL Draft. While they’ve been impressive, he’s made only two starts with the Green Bay Packers as is still mostly an unknown commodity.
An unknown commodity who has $10 million guaranteed coming his way.
You see, the Seahawks are in a place where they had to make a significant move that could backfire. Matt Flynn might be more Rick Mirer than Matt Hasselbeck in the Emerald City, which could possibly doom Pete Carroll’s tenure.
Yet if the team didn’t pull the trigger, they could face a reality that involves more Tavaris Jackson. That would almost certainly doom Carroll to a sub .500 record until he was dismissed.
The Seahawks had to pull the trigger partly due to desperation. It’s a feeling the Baltimore Ravens have experienced in the past with mixed results. It’s a feeling that Baltimore Ravens fans should enjoy not experiencing this year.
The Ravens haven’t been able to accomplish much during free agency, but they haven’t had to. They’re not a desperate organization seeking a single fix to exit mediocrity. They’re a superior organization merely looking to make a few moves to reach “the next level.”
The Ravens have a quarterback. The Ravens have talented players at other offensive skill positions. The Ravens (still) have one of the best defenses in the league.
Desperation isn’t a word General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Head Coach John Harbaugh and Owner Steve Bisciotti even have to consider. Neither do Ravens fans.
It’s a significantly better place to be. I appreciated the reminder.
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Posted on 08 March 2012 by WNST Staff
EA SPORTS AND ESPN’S SPORTSNATION KICK OFF MADDEN NFL 13 COVER ATHLETE FAN VOTE
This Year’s Campaign Expands to 64 Players – With Play-In Round Featuring Two Athletes
From Each NFL Team Represented in Head-to-Head Matchups
March 7, 2012 – EA SPORTS™ and ESPN announced today the return of the award-winning Madden NFL Cover Vote campaign, where fans can cast their vote for the next athlete to grace the cover of one of the highest-selling videogame franchises in North America. Last year, nearly 13 million votes were cast through ESPNSportsNation.com and ESPN mobile in both companies’ most successful cross-platform activation. Tenth-seeded Cleveland Browns running back, Peyton Hillis, trucked through the six week competition all the way to the ultimate end zone – the Madden NFL 12 cover.
This year’s competition will incorporate more athletes and more chances to vote as the field has been expanded to 64 NFL players, putting even more control in the hands of the fans. Beginning today through March 21, fans can visit the SportsNation Facebook page to choose among the 64 candidates in a play-in round (each matchup features two players from the same NFL team) to advance to the official 32-player, seeded tournament. The winners of the play-in round will be unveiled with the official seeded, 32-player bracket on March 21 on ESPN’s “Madden Cover Vote Special” from 5-6p.m. EST. To ensure their favorite player advances to the next round, fans are encouraged to vote daily and tweet their picks using #MyMaddenCoverVote on Twitter. Every Wednesday between March 21 and April 25, fans can tune into SportsNation on ESPN2at 5p.m. EST to check out the latest Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote standings.
In addition to the SportsNation Facebook page, fans will be able to vote in the play-in round via the open Web through widgets embedded on blogs, websites and more. Each widget features an individual match-up for each of the 32 total teams in the league. For the cover vote from March 21-April 25, all voting must be cast at ESPN.com/MaddenVote.
The star-studded list of candidates participating in the play-in round features past Super Bowl winners, perennial Pro Bowlers and some of the most popular players in the NFL including Drew Brees, Arian Foster and Rob Gronkowski. The full list of matchups featured in the play-in round are:
|Ravens||Terrell Suggs vs. Ray Rice||Jets||Mark Sanchez vs. Darrelle Revis|
|Steelers||Troy Polamalu vs. Ben Roethlisberger||Bills||Stevie Johnson vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick|
|Browns||Joe Thomas vs. Joe Haden||Dolphins||Reggie Bush vs. Brandon Marshall|
|Bengals||Andy Dalton vs. AJ Green||Patriots||Wes Welker vs. Rob Gronkowski|
|Texans||Arian Foster vs. Andre Johnson||Chargers||Phillip Rivers vs. Antonio Gates|
|Colts||Dwight Freeney vs. Robert Mathis||Broncos||Tim Tebow vs. Von Miller|
|Jaguars||Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Blaine Gabbert||Chiefs||Dwayne Bowe vs. Derrick Johnson|
|Titans||Jake Locker vs. Chris Johnson||Raiders||Sebastian Janikowski vs. Shane Lechler|
|Bears||Jay Cutler vs. Matt Forte||Rams||Chris Long vs. Brandon Lloyd|
|Lions||Calvin Johnson vs. Matt Stafford||49ers||Vernon Davis vs. Patrick Willis|
|Vikings||Percy Harvin vs. Jared Allen||Seahawks||Marshawn Lynch vs. Earl Thomas|
|Packers||Aaron Rodgers vs. Clay Matthews||Cardinals||Larry Fitzgerald vs. Patrick Peterson|
|Falcons||Matt Ryan vs. Julio Jones||Eagles||Michael Vick vs. LeSean McCoy|
|Saints||Drew Brees vs. Jimmy Graham||Giants||Victor Cruz vs. Jason Pierre-Paul|
|Panthers||Cam Newton vs. Steve Smith||Cowboys||Jason Witten vs. DeMarcus Ware|
|Buccaneers||Josh Freeman vs. LeGarrette Blount||Redskins||Brian Orakpo vs. Ryan Kerrigan|
The Madden NFL 13 cover vote marks the third-consecutive year that EA SPORTS has asked fans to help shape the face of the Madden NFL franchise through a cover athlete voting campaign. It also marks the second year of its collaboration with ESPN’s SportsNation.
Madden NFL 13 is developed in Orlando, Florida by EA Tiburon. For more information about Madden NFL 13, please visit: http://www.ea.com/madden-nfl. To download assets pertaining to the Madden NFL 13 please visit http://maddennfl13.newslinevine.com.
All player participation has been facilitated by National Football League Players Incorporated, the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFL Players Association.
EA SPORTS™ is one of the leading sports entertainment brands in the world, with top-selling videogame franchises, award-winning interactive technology, global videogame competitions and breakthrough digital experiences. EA SPORTS delivers experiences that ignite the emotions of sport through industry-leading sports simulation videogames, including Madden NFL football, FIFA Soccer, NHL® hockey, NBA basketball, NCAA® Football, Fight Night boxing, EA SPORTS MMA and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® golf, and EA SPORTS Active.
For more information about EA SPORTS, including news, video, blogs, forums and game apps, please visit www.easports.com to connect, share and compete.
About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company’s game franchises are offered as both packaged goods products and online services delivered through Internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. EA has more than 100 million registered players and operates in 75 countries.
In fiscal 2011, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.6 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for critically acclaimed, high-quality blockbuster franchises such as The Sims™, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield™, and Mass Effect™. More information about EA is available at http://info.ea.com.
EA SPORTS, EA SPORTS Active, The Sims and Need for Speed are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. Mass Effect is a trademark of EA International (Studio and Publishing) Ltd. Battlefield is a trademark of EA Digital Illusions CE AB. John Madden, NFL, FIFA, NHL, NBA, NCAA, Tiger Woods, and PGA TOUR are trademarks of their respective owners and used with permission. Twitter is a registered trademark of Twitter, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
Officially Licensed Product of National Football League Players Incorporated.
SportsNation is a live sports television show born from the Internet, fueled by fan interaction and focused on fun. The show, which has the youngest and most male audience on the ESPN network, features discussions of the day’s hottest sports topics but also smaller stories that generate buzz on the Web but are overlooked by other shows. Feeding off the theory that if two heads are better than one, 200,000 heads are better than two, SportsNation engages hundreds of thousands of sports fans across the country via ESPN.com’s SportsNation page (http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/).
About ESPN Games and EA
ESPN’s long-standing relationship with EA produces deep brand integrations into console gaming titles such as EA SPORTS NCAA Football 12 and Fight Night Champion. Additionally, the relationship in 2011 produced the biggest ESPN poll vote ever for the Madden NFL 12 cover vote, logging nearly 13 million votes, the most ESPN votes ever for a joint collaboration. The Emmy award-winning EA Virtual Playbook also most recently extended to boxing and golf in 2011.
PLAY-IN ROUND VOTING THRU FACEBOOK & OPEN WEB
Thanks for your interest in SportsNation’s Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote.
EA Sports and ESPN’s SportsNation have chosen two players from each NFL team to be included in a social play-in round for the Madden NFL 13 cover.
Starting March 7th on SportsNation’s Facebook page and on voting matchups called ‘sapplets’ or ‘widgets’ embedded across open web (info below), fans will be able to vote on matchups from each NFL team to send one representative into the final bracket of 32 players at ESPN.com/MaddenVote on March 21st.
If you choose to embed one of the 32 individual voting ‘sapplets’, you can use the next page that includes all 32 embed codes for all 32 NFL teams. They post to your site much like a YouTube clip and can increase time spent on your site as well as traffic by generating debate about matchups.
The social Play-in vote launches on Wednesday, March 7th and closes two week later on Wednesday, March 21st. The Facebook tab and voting ‘sapplets’ will be live during those two weeks.
WAY TO EMBED:
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Posted on 05 February 2012 by WNST Staff
|Opponent||Saint Peter’s Peacocks|
|Date||Sunday, February 5, 2012|
|Location||Jersey City, N.J. | Yanitelli Center|
|TV | Radio||MAAC.TV Webstreaming|
|Series Record||Saint Peter’s leads, 42-33|
|Last Meeting||Loyola 65, Saint Peter’s 54 – Jan. 22, 2012 at Loyola|
Loyola University Maryland travels to Jersey City, N.J., for a game on Super Bowl Sunday, February 5, 2012, at Saint Peter’s College. Tip-off has been moved to 12 noon in the Yanitelli Center.
Sunday’s game will be the 76th all-time meeting by the fellow Jesuit schools with Saint Peter’s holding a 42-33 lead in the series. The series is the second most-played amongst the Greyhounds’ current opponents, trailing only Mount St. Mary’s.
Loyola picked up a 65-54 victory over the Peacocks, last year’s MAAC Champions, on Sunday, January 22, in the teams’ first meeting this season. Erik Etherly scored 19 for the Greyhounds, and Robert Olson added 15.
The teams split last year’s regular-season meetings, each winning on the other’s home court. Saint Peter’s then defeated Loyola in the MAAC Quarterfinals, en route to winning the MAAC Championship and advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
Five Under Sixty
For the first time in its NCAA Division I history (since 1981-1982), Loyola has held five consecutive opponents to fewer than 60 points.
Over the last four games, all Loyola victories, the Greyhounds have held Siena, Saint Peter’s, Niagara and Canisius to an average of 52.8 points per game.
The Greyhounds previously had held three teams to sub-60 performances just once since joining Division I, and that came during 1981-1982, their first season at this level.
The last time a Loyola team held four-straight teams under 60, regardless of division, came in January-February 1977 when it held six teams in a row – Southampton, Saint Peter’s, Randolph-Macon, Mount St. Mary’s, Baltimore and Philadelphia Textile – to 59 or fewer. The Greyhounds, however, were just 3-3 in that stretch.
Super Bowl Stats
The game against Saint Peter’s will mark the 14th time the Greyhounds will have played on the date of the Super Bowl, and Loyola is 8-5 in the 13 previous games.
As far as signs go, NFC teams are 6-2 when Loyola wins, and NFC teams have a slim 7-6 advantage on days when the Greyhounds play.
Loyola was a winner the last time the Giants and Patriots met in the Super Bowl. The Greyhounds defeated Canisius, 74-62, on February 3, 2008.
Something Had To Give
Entering Friday night’s game against Rider, Loyola had held four consecutive opponents to 57 or fewer points, while the Broncs were averaging 87.5 points in their previous three games.
Loyola’s defense prevailed in the contest, holding Rider to 12 points in the first half and just 46 overall. It was the Broncs’ lowest scoring game since February 2008 when Fairfield held them to 40.
Almost 20 Years
Rider’s 46 points were the fewest Loyola has allowed since the Greyhounds defeated Niagara, 68-45, on February 21, 1992, a stretch of 521 games.
Loyola has now held opponents to 49 or fewer points eight times since joining NCAA Division I in 1981-1982. The Greyhounds did it twice each in 1981-1982, 1984-1985 and 1991-1992 and once in 1983-1984.
Loyola held Rider to 30.6-percent from the floor (15-of-49), the lowest field-goal percentage of the season for a Greyhound opponent. The Broncs’ 15 field goals made were the lowest of the year, as well.
Rider’s field-goal percentage was the lowest by a Loyola opponent since Mount St. Mary’s shot 28.8-percent (17-of-59) on December 11, 2010.
Two In A Row For Walker
Shane Walker had not recorded a double-figure rebounding performance this season until January 29 at Canisius, and now he has done it twice in as many games. Walker finished his 17-point, 11-rebound game against the Golden Griffins with a game- and season-high 12 boards versus Rider.
Walker’s 11 defensive rebounds were the most this season by any Loyola player.
Cormier Back In Action
Dylon Cormier returned to game action on Friday night after missing the Greyhounds’ contest at Canisius with an ankle injury. Cormier, who was limited to 11 minutes off the bench at Niagara, came off the bench against Rider and finished with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting.
Cormier played 28 minutes against the Broncs and also had a game-high four steals.
Loyola forced 12 Rider turnovers and held the Broncs to 3-of-23 (.130) from the field in the first half on Friday night. The Greyhounds used an 18-0 run to take a 24-5 lead with just under nine minutes to play before the break.
During the 7-minute, 6-second stretch of play, Rider was 0-of-8 from the field, went without an offensive rebound and had six turnovers.
Leading Scorers During Last Five
During the stretch of five games in which Loyola has held opponents to 57 or fewer points, the Greyhounds have held the opposing teams’ leading scorers under the season averages entering the game.
Loyola held Chris Prescott (Saint Peter’s) and O.D. Anosike (Siena) to less than a point under their previous averages. Since they, the Greyhounds limited Juan’ya Green (Niagara) to 14, more than three under his average, Harold Washington (Canisius) nine short of his 17+ average and Jeff Jones (Rider) to seven fewer than his 13+ mark.
Fastest To 17
Loyola’s win over Rider was the Greyhounds’ 17th of the season, marking their fastest path to 17 victories since joining Division I for the 1981-1982 season. The Greyhounds’ arrival at 17 wins came by a wide margin over the previous best.
The 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 squads, set the previous standard, reaching 17 wins in 29 games, seven more than this year’s team.
Loyola’s 17-5 start through its first 22 games of the season ranks is tied for the third-best start during that many games in program history. The start is the best since 1947-1948 when “Lefty” Reitz’s team opened its season with the same record through 21.
The best start through 21 games came in 1940-1941 when another Reitz-coached team entered the Mason-Dixon Conference Championship with an 18-3 record. That Loyola team defeated Mount St. Mary’s in the semifinals before losing to Western Maryland (now McDaniel) in the title game.
Good MAAC Start
With wins in 10 of its first 12 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference games this season, Loyola is off to its best start in league play since joining the league in 1989-1990. The Greyhounds’ previous best MAAC starts were 9-3 in both 2006-2007 and 2007-2008.
Olson’s January, Continued
After a stretch of not scoring in double figures for the last three games of December and the first two in January, Robert Olson was the Greyhounds’ leading scorer during the first month of the new calendar year, averaging 13.8. He continued his stretch of scoring with 14 against Rider.
In Loyola’s last eight games, a stretch in which the Greyhounds are 7-1, Olson has averaged a team-best 15.1 points per game.
During those eight games, his low total is 11, coming last Friday at Niagara. He is shooting .532 from the field (42-of-79) and a more impressive .500 (25-of-50) from 3-point range.
Olson has made at least two 3-pointers in each of the seven games and has three or more in all but two (at Niagara, Rider).
Etherly’s Last Eight
Erik Etherly continued his solid play of late with a game-high 15 points against Rider. The game against the Broncs marked the fifth time in the Greyhounds’ last seven that he has scored 15 or more points, and it raised his eight-game scoring average to 14.8 points.
Etherly also has averaged 7.4 rebounds, as well, during the stretch that dates back to the Greyhounds’ first meeting with Canisius on January 7.
The junior forward finished last Sunday’s game against Saint Peter’s with 19 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots, all game highs. He also was 9-of-12 from the free-throw line, matching his season-best for free throws made.
Last Time Out
Rider was within a point, 6-5, after a Jonathon Thompson three less than three minutes in before Loyola went on an 18-0 run that turned into a stretch that the Greyhounds outscored the Broncs, 33-7 to end the half.
The Broncs came out quickly in the second half, scoring the first 11 points and 15 of the first 16. Loyola, however, quickly stamped out the run, going back up by 20 with 9:35 to play.
The Greyhounds completed a feat they have never accomplished last weekend, sweeping Niagara and Canisius on the road. Since joining the MAAC in 1989-1990, the best Loyola fared on the Western New York roadtrip was a split of the two teams.
Loyola finished the month of January with a 7-2 record for the second year in a row, duplicating the effort the 2010-2011 squad put together after the calendar flipped.
Including this year, Loyola is 39-19 (.672) during the year’s first month over the last six seasons. The 2006-2007 team set the standard with an 8-2 (.800) record, and the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 sides followed with 7-3 (.700) marks. The 2009-2010 team slid to 3-7 (.300) before last year’s team experienced success again.
During Jimmy Patsos’ eight seasons at Loyola, the Greyhounds are 45-33 (.577) during January.
Double-Double For Walker
Shane Walker led all players with 17 points and 11 rebounds in Sunday’s win at Canisius, his first double-double of the season and seventh of his career.
Walker scored 11 points in the first half and also had six offensive rebounds during the game, the most by any Loyola player this season. He was 5-of-6 from the free-throw line, as well.
Defense As Good Or Better
While Walker’s contributions on the boards and offense were solid, Shane Walker’s defense against Canisius was even better.
Walker finished the game with five blocked shots and altered several more with his presence in the post. The five blocks were the most this season by a Loyola player and just one off Walker’s previous career high of six that came on January 15, 2010, at Marist.
Winbush Continues Contributions As Starter
Anthony Winbush got his fifth start of the season Sunday at Canisius in place of the injured Dylon Cormier, and Winbush made his presence known in several areas.
He finished the game with six rebounds, four offensive, and had a season-high five steals, one off his career high of six which came in a December 2009 victory at Indiana. His defensive versatility was also critical as Canisius started four guards.
During Loyola’s modest four-game winning streak, Winbush has averaged 5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. He also has averages of 1.8 assists and steals per game.
Loyola finished Sunday’s game with 18 assists, tying its season-high set earlier this year against Florida Gulf Coast and when Canisius played in Baltimore. All five starters had two or more assists, and three had four-plus: Erik Etherly (5), Robert Olson and R.J. Williams (4), Shane Walker (3) and Anthony Winbush (2).
Williams’ Solid Weekend
Freshman point guard R.J. Williams put together one of his better weekends of the season, by averaging 7.5 points, 5.5 assists and just 1.5 turnovers in the victories over Niagara and Canisius.
Williams scored eight points and had a career-best seven assists at Niagara, and he followed that by scoring seven and dishing out four helpers against the Golden Griffins.
Bracketbuster Opponent Named
Loyola learned Monday that it will host Boston University of the America East Conference in its sixth appearance in the Sears’ Bracketbuster Event. The Greyhounds and Terriers will play Sunday, February 19, at 12 noon in Reitz Arena.
Loyola recorded its second-best shooting performance of the season at Niagara, finishing the game 21-of-40, a 52.5-percent clip. The number was buoyed significantly by an 11-of-16, 68.8-percent, mark in the second half.
The Greyhounds’ second-half numbers represented their best 20 minutes of the season. Meanwhile, Loyola made 80-percent (24-of-30) of its free throws, as well, on Friday night, their best free-throw shooting performance of the season.
FG Percentage Getting It Done
While not the most glamorous mark in the box score, Loyola is 14-0 this season when it shoots 41.3-percent or better from the field. The Greyhounds have made less than 44-percent of their shots and won seven times this season.
As of Monday, the Greyhounds ranked 234th out of 338 teams in NCAA Division I with a .420 field goal percentage, and they are one of just two teams (joining Robert Morris) to have 16 or more wins and rank 225 or higher in the category.
Tied For Second In Road Wins
As of the beginning of the week, Loyola’s nine road wins had them tied for second in all of NCAA Division I for victories away from its home court.
Wagner leads the way with 10, while the Greyhounds are tied with Murray State, Harvard, Iona and Cleveland State.
Olson Scores In Bunches
Robert Olson scored seven points in a 23-second stretch versus Fairfield, going on a 7-0 run by himself. Fairfield led 62-55 when Olson pulled up for an 18-foot jumper with 1:42 left in regulation. He then hit a shot with his foot on the 3-point line 15 ticks later to make it a 3-point Stags lead. The junior guard tied the game at 62-62 with 1:19 on the clock with a three from the right side.
Olson finished with 15 points, 13 coming in the second half. Earlier in the stanza, an Olson three at the 14:38 mark cut Fairfield’s largest lead of 15 to 12, and he then knocked one down with 10:04 on the clock.
It was the second game in a row Olson has scored seven-straight points in the second half. He went on a personal 7-0 run against Canisius to move Loyola’s lead back to 11 after the Golden Griffins cut it to four.
The second half has often been a big one for Olson. Last year, he scored nine points in 83 seconds to help defeat Morgan State, and against Iona in Baltimore, Olson made a three pointer with seven ticks of the clock left to tie and send the game to overtime. He then scored the game’s last four points to secure the victory.
Walker Moves Into Second
Shane Walker blocked two Fairfield shots in the first three minutes of the game, and he then swatted a Maurice Barrow layup with 13:58 on the clock, tying him for second all-time at Loyola in blocked shots.
With five blocks against Canisius, Walker now has 124 blocks in his career and is all alone in second place. Brian Carroll (1997-2001) holds the school record with 213.
Everyone On The Offensive Boards
Loyola leads the MAAC in offensive rebounding as a team, averaging 14.1, more than a full rebound more per game that second-place Canisius (13.0).
Despite the team ranking, no Greyhounds player is higher than seventh in the conference in offensive rebounds per game. Erik Etherly is seventh with 2.5, while Justin Drummond is tied for 12th with 2.2, just ahead of teammate Dylon Cormier in 15th.
No other league team has more than two players in the top 15 of the statistical category.
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.).
Runs have been a big part of the Greyhounds’ success 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)|
|at 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)|
|at Siena||13-0; 4:27||0-2, 19:28 (1)||13-2; 15:35 (1)|
|at The Mount||9-0, 1:55||24-26, 1:59 (1)||33-26, :04 (1)|
|Canisius||18-4, 10:14||57-53, 10:14 (2)||75-57, 2:11 (2)|
|at Fairfield||36-21, 16:42||30-45, 16:42 (2)||66-63, Final|
|Siena||22-2, 7:36||40-47, 10:35 (2)||62-49, 2:49 (2)|
|Saint Peter’s||20-5, 8:13||15-20, 8:55 (1)||35-25, :48 (1)|
|at Niagara||15-2, 5:42||44-46, 7:48 (2)||59-48, 1:58 (2)|
|at Canisius||24-2, 12:04||16-22, 8:02 (1)||40-24, 15:58 (2)|
|Rider||18-0, 8:06||6-5, 16:50 (1)||24-5, 8:55 (2)|
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 are back home next weekend to host a pair of MAAC games on the ESPN family of networks. Friday’s contest against Iona at 7 o’clock will be televised on ESPNU, and the Sunday 4 o’clock battle versus Fairfield will be aired on ESPN3. Both of those games are also doubleheaders with the Loyola women hosting Iona and Fairfield at 4 p.m. and 12 noon, respectively.
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