Loyola returns to Reitz Arena for the first of two-straight home games on Saturday, February 1. The Greyhounds will tip-off at 1 o’clock against the U.S. Military Academy.
The game marks the start of the second half of the Patriot League schedule for the conference’s 10 teams.
The Greyhounds finished the month of January with a 4-5 record, all in League play.
Loyola continues to lead the Patriot League in steals per game, averaging 8.7 a contest. Starting guards R.J. Williams (2.6) and Dylon Cormier (2.1) are first and second, individually.
Williams is seventh in the nation in steals per game, and Cormier is tied for 31st.
Last Time Out
The Greyhounds cut a one-time 14-point deficit to two on multiple occasions in the second half on Wednesday night, but Loyola could not get over the hump to tie or take the lead in a 60-51 loss at College of the Holy Cross.
The Crusaders led by 12 in the first half, and Holy Cross then went up 38-24 with just under 14 minutes left in regulation, but Loyola used a 23-11 run to cut the lead to a pair, 49-47, on a traditional 3-point play by Dylon Cormier with 4:05 on the clock.
Loyola again was within two after two R.J. Williams free throws at 3:19, but it could not draw closer.
Tyler Hubbard scored a career-high 13 points in the game, and Cormier had 15.
Patriot League Network
Saturday’s game against Army will air live on the Patriot League Network.
The contest, and all of Loyola’s remaining, non-televised home and road games will be streamed, free of charge, in high definition and can be accessed at www.patriotleague.tv.
Gary Lambrecht will call the play-by-play, and Jim Chivers ’05 will provide color analysis.
Series History Versus Army
Loyola and Army will meet for the third time on the basketball hardwood when the teams take the floor Saturday. The teams have split the two previous games.
Army led by 13 early in the second half, but a Dylon Cormier three with five minutes to go pulled the Greyhounds within a point, but Army came away with a 91-82 win at West Point on January 5, 2014.
The Greyhounds and Black Knights are conference foes for the second time as members of the Patriot League. Army was in its last year of membership in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in 1989-90, Loyola’s first season in the league that it left after 2012-13.
The teams were in separate divisions – Army in the North, Loyola the South – and played once during the year, a 62-55 Greyhounds win in Reitz Arena during January.
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.
Hubbard Hits High
Tyler Hubbard made the most of his second career, and second-straight, starting opportunity on Wednesday night at Holy Cross, knocking down 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point line for a season-high 13 points.
The sophomore guard made his first career start last Saturday against Colgate, and he was inserted into the starting lineup again by Head Coach G.G. Smith. Hubbard’s four threes tied a career-high, and he was four points off his career-best set in November 2012 against UMBC.
Hubbard’s threes came after a four-game stretch in which he had not made more than one in a game. Prior to that stretch, he scored 12 points when he hit 3-of-5 against Lehigh on January 8.
Gorski Makes Good
Freshman post player Nick Gorski has seen his most extensive playing time of 2014 in the Greyhounds’ last two games, and he’s taken advantage of the opportunity. Gorski saw 11 minutes of court time against Colgate last Saturday and 18 Wednesday night at Holy Cross.
Against the Crusaders, Gorski made all three of his field goal attempts, including a 3-pointer, and both of his free throws to finish with a career-high nine points. He also led Loyola with five rebounds.
In the game against Colgate, he tallied four points and two rebounds, his most points since scoring seven in the season’s second game at Cornell.
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 almost eight fewer in losses than wins (27.7-20.0).
Baltimore Guard Duo
Former summer league teammates Dylon Cormier and R.J. Williams have made quite the duo as Loyola’s starting backcourt over the past three years, and last Saturday’s game against Colgate was perfect evidence of that.
The were the game’s top two scorers with Cormier turning in 21 and Williams delivering a career-high 15 points. They made 11-of-20 combined shots and were successful on all 13 of their combined free-throw attempts.
Williams had a team-best four assists, while Cormier passed out three. Defensively, they combined for six of Loyola’s eight steals with Williams coming up with four.
In the game’s final 10 minutes, Cormier and Williams scored 16 of Loyola’s final 18 points.
Away From The Friendly Confines
Loyola lost its ninth straight road game last Wednesday night at Holy Cross after winning its first three this season away from Reitz Arena.
At 3-9 on the road, the Greyhounds are shooting 38.9 percent as opposed to 46.3 percent while going 6-2 at home. Opponents are shooting 47.1 percent in their own facilities, 43.1 percent in Reitz Arena.
Loyola does shoot slightly better from 3-point range on the road, making 33.7 percent of shots from behind the arc as compared to 27.9 at home.
The Greyhounds turn the ball over at a rate of one per game more on the road (12.2-11.0), and they also force an additional turnover at home (15.0-13.4).
With these factors, the Greyhounds are averaging nearly five points less per game on the road, 65.2, to their 71.4 points per game at home.
The Greyhounds won two in a row – January 11 against Lehigh and two days later versus Lafayette – after going 1-6 in their previous seven.
They produced two of their three best shooting performances of the season in the games, shooting an even 50 percent against the Mountain Hawks and a season-best 54.9 versus the Leopards.
Combined, Loyola made 54-of-103 (52.4 percent) of its shots in the wins after shooting 39.2 percent (150-of-383) in its previous seven.
Lower Volume, Higher Efficiency
Dylon Cormier has averaged 20.0 points per game over the Greyhounds’ last six, lower than his season average of 21.8, but he has done so with considerably better efficiency.
Over the six games, Cormier has made 56.3 percent (45-of-80) of his shots from the field, a 10.1 percent improvement over his 46.2 percent mark for the entire year.
Versus Lafayette, Cormier made 73.3 percent of his shot attempts (11-of-15). That came after a 10-fo-18 performance versus the Mountain Hawks.
In Loyola’s four previous games – Miami, Navy, Army and American – Cormier had made just 33.8 percent of his shots (21-of-62). That included a game in which he made 10 at Army, but with 25 attempts.
In the seven games prior to the current two-game winning streak, Cormier was just 4-of-26 (15.4 percent) from 3-point range. Against Lehigh and Lafayette, however, he has attempted just one from behind the arc.
Dylon Cormier and R.J. Williams both posted double-doubles against Lafayette, as Cormier went for 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Williams posted 12 points and a career-best 10 assists.
It was the first time since an 88-85 overtime win against Iona College on January 30, 2011, that two Loyola players completed the feat in the same game. Erik Etherly (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Justin Drummond (14 points, 10 rebounds) managed it on that day.
Williams’ 10 assists were the most by a Greyhounds’ player since Brian Rudolph dished out 10 on February 27, 2011, in the regular-season finale at Canisius College.
Cormier To The Glass
Dylon Cormier led, or tied for the team lead, for the 10 time this season with seven rebounds against Bucknell. Six of the Greyhounds’ eight wins this season have come when Cormier leads the team on the boards.
This season, Cormier leads the Greyhounds with 6.2 rebounds per game, a total that ranks tops among Patriot League guards and fifth overall.
He is also the top offensive rebounder in the conference, averaging 3.0 per game, a mark that is 0.4 better than any other player in the League.
Cormier has 114 total rebounds this year, with 59 coming on the offensive end.
The Greyhounds posted 11 or more steals in each of their first three Patriot League games, and they are averaging 8.9 in conference play through nine games.
The 80 steals in its last nine games have raised Loyola’s Patriot League-leading average to 8.7 per game. Through games of January 30, the Greyhounds are ranked 18th nationally in steals per game.
Loyola has had 11 or more steals in seven games through 20 contests.
R.J. Williams leads the Patriot League,and is seventh nationally in steals per game (2.61), while Dylon Cormier is second (2.15) and tied for 31st.
Williams posted a career-high six, tied for fifth-most in school single-game history, at Army.
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 182 in his career.
With 112 in his career, Williams is11th on the career chart.
Dylon Cormier has been one of the top scorers in the nation this season, averaging 21.6 points per game through 19. Through games of Thursday, January 30, Cormier was 12th 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 18 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.
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.
Cormier now has 1,645 career points through 114 career games. Next up on the career scoring list is Mike Krawczyk who scored 1,676 from 1968-72.
Cormier To The Charity Stripe
Loyola went to the free-throw line a season-high 35 times on December 19 against Stony Brook, and Dylon Cormier took 21 of the attempts.
His 21 free throw attempts were the second-most in school single-game history, one shy of tying the January 14, 2009, mark set by Jamal Barney against NJIT.
Cormier made 16 free throws, a career-best, good for a tie for fourth in single-game history. Barney holds that record, as well, with 18.
He had another game that will be entered on the Loyola charts against Navy when he made 12-of-12 at the line. It was the fifth-best performance in school history (most makes without a miss).
Through 20 games, Cormier has gone to the free-throw line 184 times (seventh in Division I through games of January 30). His average of 9.2 free throws per game is tied for sixth nationally.
Loyola is guaranteed at least 30 games this season (29 regular-season, plus at least one Patriot League Tournament), and with that average, Cormier would 276 free throws in 2013-14. The school single-season record for free throws attempted is 255 set in 1997-98 by Mike Powell.
In his career, Cormier is 457-of-655 from the free-throw line. He is second in school history in both free throws made and attempted.
Last Five Focus
In Loyola’s nine victories this season, it has outscored its opponents 18.4-11.8 in the final five minutes of the games.
The Greyhounds have shot 59.2 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from 3-point range, in the final five minutes of the wins. Their opponents have shot just 37.2 percent from the field and 23.3 percent from behind the arc.
In those 45 minutes, Loyola has committed just 13 turnovers to its opponents’ 25. Seventeen of the opponent turnovers have been from Loyola steals.
Jordan Latham tied his career-high with four blocks against Navy, and Loyola matched its season-best with seven.
Latham now has 79 career blocks, fifth-best in school history.
Die Hard Dogs
Loyola has trailed with five minutes to go in regulation in four of its eight victories this season – Binghamton, Cornell, UMBC and Navy – only to come back to win.
In their Patriot League-opener, the Greyhounds were 10 points back of Navy, 47-37, when the clock hit 5:00 in the second half, but Loyola closed the half on an 15-5 run to force overtime.
At Binghamton, the Greyhounds were down five at the five-minute mark; Cornell, seven; and UMBC, six. In the game at UMBC, the Retrievers’ lead ballooned to 10 with 90 seconds left.
Loyola is 3-0 in overtime games this season and has won its last seven games that have extended past regulation.
Since the 2004-2005 season, Loyola is 12-1 in overtime games.
This season, the Greyhounds have outscored Cornell, UMBC and Navy by an average of 12.3 to 7.3 in the extra frames.
Loyola’s three overtime games this year match the number it played, and won, last year. Prior to 2012-13, the last time Loyola played three or more overtime games in a season was 1990-91.
Through 20 games this season, the Greyhounds are averaging 2.5 fewer turnovers per game than their opponents, tops in the Patriot League and 50th in the nation.
In Loyola’s 11 losses this season, the Greyhounds are shooting nearly eight percent worse from the floor than they are in their eight victories.
Loyola has made 46.1 percent (178-of-386) shots in six wins versus 37.6 percent (236-of-628) in eight losses. As a consequence, Loyola is averaging 16.8 points less (77.4 versus 60.6) points.
As one would expect, opponents are shooting better (49.1-41.7) in the games they’ve won.
After averaging just 5.3 minutes in 27 games last season, Eric Laster has seen his role expand dramatically this season, starting the first 15 games on the wing.
Laster has averaged 8.4 points in Loyola’s first 20 contests, and he is shooting 41.8 percent (30-of-72) from 3-point range. In 27 games last year, he averaged just 0.8 points (22 total) and shot 32.3 percent overall from the field.
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 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:
||Mike Krawczyk, 1,676
|Field Goals Made
||546 field goals made
||Bob Reilly, 549
||96 3-Pt. Made
||B.J. Davis, 104
|Free Throws Made
||457 free throws made
||Jim Lacy, 613
||Dave Wojick, 219
||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.
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.
Nod To Maryland Prep Basketball
The State of Maryland is home to the most college basketball recruits, according to Mode Analytics. Loyola’s home produces 58 players per 1,000 college-age males, six more than second place Louisiana.
The Greyhounds remain at Reitz Arena for their next game, a 7:30 p.m. contest on Wednesday, February 5, against American University.