MAAC Play Commences
Loyola University Maryland opens its 23rd season of competition in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference on Thursday when it hosts the Marist College Red Foxes at 7:30 p.m. in Reitz Arena.
The Greyhounds will look to reverse a historical trend in the game, as they are just 3-19 all-time in their first MAAC games.
With a 77-74 victory on Sunday over Florida Gulf Coast, Loyola improved to 4-1 in 2011-2012, its best start through five games since the 2005-2006 season when the Greyhounds won their first five in Head Coach Jimmy Patsos’ second year with the program. The Greyhounds’ fifth victory of the year that season was also the last win in a MAAC opener, a 90-85 overtime triumph at Fairfield.
Thursday will mark the 50th time that Marist and Loyola have met on the basketball hardwood. The Red Foxes hold a 27-22 advantage in the previous 49 meetings, but Loyola has won the last six in the series and seven of the last eight.
Last season, the Greyhounds swept the season series, winning 83-67 in Reitz Arena and 75-69 in Poughkeepsie.
Robert Olson averaged 19.0 points in the two wins last season, scoring 21 at Marist after tallying 17 at home. At the McCann Center on Marist’s campus, Olson scored all 19 of his second-half points in the game’s final 8:22.
Shane Walker averaged 14.0 points and 10.0 rebounds against the Red Foxes last season, leading all players with 19 points at home.
All non-televised home contests, will be broadcast free of charge on Hounds Unleashed, the broadcast arm of LoyolaGreyhounds.com. The games will be available on computers and most smart phone devices.
Last Time Out
Anthony Winbush made two free throws with 11.1 seconds left to give Loyola a 77-74 lead over Florida Gulf Coast, and Robert Olson blocked an Eagles’ 3-point attempt on the ensuing possession to seal the Greyhounds fourth-straight win.
Loyola went on a 22-5 run that covered almost seven minutes of first half action to lead by as many as 16 and ultimately 13 at halftime. Florida Gulf Coast, however, trimmed Loyola’s advantage to four less than six minutes into the second half.
Loyola then led by 11, 60-49, after two Shane Walker free throws with 6:32 remaining before the Eagles cut it to three with a 3-pointer with 44 ticks left. Dylon Cormier and Olson each made 1-of-2 from the line, sandwiched around an unforced Eagles turnover, but Chase Fieler got an offensive rebound and converted it for two with 20 seconds left.
R.J. Williams hit 1-of-2 free throws a second later, and Bernard Thompson knocked down a three to make it a one-point game, setting up Winbush’s free throws.
Erik Etherly made 7-of-10 field goals and led the Greyhounds with 15 points, while Cormier had 14 and Olson 13.
First Time For Everything
Sunday’s victory over Florida Gulf Coast was the first time in 2011-2012 that the Greyhounds have been outrebounded in a game. The Eagles controlled a slight 36-33 advantage on the boards. Florida Gulf Coast’s 17 offensive board were also the most by a Loyola opponent this season. The Eagles were, however, able to score on less than half of their offensive rebounds, converting them into just 16 second-chance points.
Olson Big On Both Ends Of The Court
Loyola trailed Florida Gulf Coast, 16-15, with 8:08 to play in the first half before Robert Olson tied the score with a free throw 18 ticks later. He then hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions for the Greyhounds, going on a personal 7-0 run that put Loyola in front for good.
Olson later hit a three at the 4:38 mark as part of a 22-5 Greyhounds run, tallying all 10 of his first-half points in the span of 3:12.
Olson did not make a field goal in the second half, but he knocked down a pair of free throws with 83 seconds on the clock to put the Greyhounds up seven, and he made 1-of-2 from the stripe with 27 seconds left to make it a five-point game.
The junior guard also came up big on the defensive end, making two stops for the Greyhounds in the last minute and a half. He caused a Bernard Thompson turnover and logged a steal at 1:23, setting up the first of his two free throws, and he then blocked a Christophe Varidel 3-pointer with six seconds left, sealing the victory.
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).
Three In A Week
Loyola won three games last week, defeating Coppin State on Monday, UMBC Thursday and New Hampshire Sunday. It marked the first time since the 2008-2009 season that the team has won three games in a calendar week. The Greyhounds last accomplished the feat with wins over NJIT, Manhattan and Marist, starting Wednesday, January 14, 2009, and culminating Sunday, January 18. Those three victories were the first half of a six-game Loyola winning streak.
Consistency Is The Key
Three Loyola players – Dylon Cormier (13, 20, 20, 16, 14), Shane Walker (12, 15, 12, 15, 10) and Erik Etherly (11, 15, 27, 11, 15) have scored in double figures in each of the Greyhounds’ five games this season.
The last time three Loyola players scored 10 or more over a five-game stretch was the 1997-1998 season when Mike Powell, Jason Rowe and Roderick Platt accomplished the task in six-consecutive games from January 25-February 15, 1998. Loyola was 5-1 in those games.
The Greyhounds have 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 also was 3-1 during that stretch.
Attacking The Offensive Glass
Against Florida Gulf Coast, Loyola had 15 offensive rebounds and scored 17 second-chance points. This season, Loyola has 80 offensive rebounds, led by Justin Drummond’s 16, and in five games the Greyhounds are pulling down boards on the offensive end after exactly 50-percent of their missed shots.
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
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.
Loyola came back from a four-point halftime deficit to outscore New Hampshire by 10 in the second half last Sunday thanks to increased defensive pressure along the perimeter.
The Greyhounds did not allow a Wildcat player to score more than five points in the second half, and Loyola also limited New Hampshire’s scoring chances by outrebounding the Wildcats 21-14 after the break.
It’s only been five games, but Loyola is +39 in the rebounding column this year, averaging 7.8 more than its opponents per game.
The Greyhounds have outrebounded two teams by 13 or more, pulling down 22 more than Coppin State and 13 more than New Hampshire.
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.
Must Be The Mask
Just over a week after breaking his nose in practice, Erik Etherly scored a career-high 27 points at UMBC. The junior forward made 9-of-15 shots from the field and converted on 9-of-14 free throws while wearing a mask to protect his injured nose.
Etherly was injured in practice on Tuesday, November 8, and although he did not practice from that point until prior to the season-opener on November 11, he scored 11 points and had nine rebounds at Wake Forest.
He then returned to the starting lineup on Monday against Coppin State and scored 15 points while pulling down 11 rebounds for his sixth career double-double.
Thursday night at UMBC, Etherly had a game-high 10 rebounds for his second double-double in a row.
With 11 at New Hampshire and a team-best 15 against Florida Gulf Coast, Etherly has now scored in double-figures for 16-straight games, dating back to January 30, 2011. Prior to scoring 10 that night against Iona, Etherly was averaging 8.8 points in his first season with the Greyhounds, but he lifted his average to 10.8 by the end of the year.
In Loyola’s last 14 games, 11 to close 2010-2011 and three this year, Etherly is averaging 14.9 points per game, tops on the team.
Cormier To The Charity Stripe
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.
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.
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.
Who To Guard?
Loyola’s offensive balance has carried over from last year in the first five games of the 2011-2012 season. A year ago, seven players averaged 8.1 points or better per game in 2010-2011. Additionally nine players dropped 10 or more points in a game, and six of those tallied 20 or more.
In the Greyhounds’ January 30 victory 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.
This season, the Greyhounds have seen at least four players score in double-figures in all five games.
Bush Is Back
Anthony Winbush returned to the court in the season-opener at Wake Forest after missing most of the 2010-2011 season with a medical redshirt. After tearing his right ACL midway through his sophomore season in 2009-2010, Winbush came back to play in eight games last season before suffering another knee injury.
Winbush received a medical hardship waiver and retained a year of eligibility – he is currently a fourth-year junior athletically – and his return to the lineup has buoyed the Greyhounds on both ends of the court.
One of the team’s top defenders, Winbush led the team in plus-minus statistics by a wide margin against Coppin State. During the 20-minutes, 47-seconds he was on the court against the Eagles, Loyola outscored Coppin State, 55-28 (+27). Then, on Thursday night against UMBC, he had a plus-minus of +11 (57-46) in 26 minutes of action.
Olson Provides Late-Game Punch
Robert Olson knocked down 3-pointers on consecutive possessions with 5:18 and 4:51 to go in the second half against Coppin State, extending Loyola’s lead to 11. He also made 3-of-4 free throws in the last 90 seconds against Florida Gulf Coast, had a steal and blocked a shot with six ticks on the clock.
Last season, Olson made it somewhat of a habit to hit bit shots late in games. In an overtime win against Iona, Olson drained a 3-pointer from the corner to tie the game with 7.2 seconds remaining and force overtime. He then made a driving layup with 41.4 left in extra time to give Loyola the lead for good.
Earlier in the year, he scored 19 points in the final 8:22 of the Greyhounds’ win over Marist, and he scored nine points in 83 ticks of the clock at Morgan State to give Loyola the lead for the remainder of the game.
The Greyhounds welcome three new players to the roster for 2011-2012: sophomore transfer Jordan Latham and freshmen Tyler Hubbard and R.J. Williams.
Latham joins the Greyhounds after spending his first collegiate season at Xavier where he saw action in 16 games for the Musketeers.
Hubbard led the Washington, D.C., metro area in 3-pointers made as a senior at Montrose Christian High School last year with 80, and he averaged 12.7 points per game. A team captain for Coach Stu Vetter last season, Hubbard helped the Mustangs finish No. 2 in the Powerade Fab 50 National Basketball Rankings after they won the ESPNRise National High School Invitational.
Williams is another close-to-home product for Loyola, joining Latham and Dylon Cormier as players on the roster who hail from Baltimore City. Williams led St. Frances Academy to the Championship Game of the MIAA and Baltimore Catholic League playoffs, earning Baltimore Catholic League Co-Player of the Year honors. Williams closed his high school career with 1,021 points and 814 assists and earned a spot on last year’s Baltimore Sun All-Metro First Team.
Latham made his first collegiate start against Wake Forest and saw 11 minutes of action. Williams came off the bench and scored three points while grabbing three rebounds in 16 minutes.
Latham Granted NCAA Waiver For Immediate Eligibility
Sophomore transfer Jordan Latham 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.).
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.
Coaches in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference picked Loyola to finish third in the league race this season as the Greyhounds garnered 76 points in the preseason poll. Iona received eight of 10 first-place votes, and 97 overall, to take top honors, while Fairfield nabbed the other two first-place nods and 92 points for second. Loyola was slotted just ahead of Rider (71), while the Broncs had considerable separation over fifth-place Saint Peter’s (52), last year’s MAAC champion.
A pair of Loyola post players, senior Shane Walker and junior Erik Etherly, were recognized on the Preseason All-MAAC Second Team by the conference’s coaches. Walker led Loyola with 11.1 points per game a year ago, while Etherly topped the side with 7.6 rebounds.
Loyola heads on the road for the first of six-straight games away from Reitz Arena that will keep them out of Baltimore until January 2. First up is a MAAC test at the Times-Union Center in Albany, N.Y., against Siena on Saturday at 7 p.m.