Turn On The Television
Wednesday game is the second of four-straight, and nine overall, Loyola men’s basketball games that will be televised. MASN will air the broadcast in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Jason Knapp will call the play-by-play, and Troy Green will handle color analysis duties. Knapp’s voice will become familiar to Loyola fans, as he will call Patriot League contests on CBS Sports Network later this season.
No Rebounds, No Problem?
It’s not what a coach wants, but Loyola won Saturday night’s game against Fairfield with just 23 rebounds. Last year’s single-game low in the rebounding column came in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament Championship Game when Loyola had 24 in a win, and the last time it posted 23 or fewer was in December 2011 during a loss at St. Bonaventure.
The last time Loyola won a game with 23 rebounds or fewer was on February 7, 2011, when the Greyhounds won at Siena, 76-69. In that game, however, five Loyola players scored in double figures, and the Greyhounds shot 52 percent from the field.
Cormier Keeps Scoring
Dylon Cormier posted his third-straight game with 20 or more points to open the 2012-2013 season, finishing with an even 20 against Fairfield. He was 6-of-12 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line in the game. He also led Loyola with five rebounds.
Cormier had scored 20 in back-to-back games four times previously in his career, two in each of the last two seasons. Prior to Erik Etherly scoring 26, 23 and 30 in Loyola’s last three regular-season games of 2012-2013, the last Loyola player to accomplish the feat was Jamal Barney who scored 21, 40, 21 and 22 in four consecutive games from January 11-18, 2009.
Low FG Percentage In A Win
Loyola shot just 34.1 percent from the field on Saturday against Fairfield, but the Greyhounds squeezed out the win, 59-52, thanks to a 24-of-34 night from the free-throw line.
The game was reminiscent in many ways of the another recent game against Fairfield. The last time Loyola won a game when shooting 34.1 percent or lower was when it went 15-of-45 from the field (33.3 percent) to beat Stags, 48-44, on March 5, 2012, in the MAAC Championship Game. The win advanced Loyola to its first NCAA Tournament in 18 seasons.
Little Bit Of Everything
Loyola point guard R.J. Williams had his most productive game of the young 2013-2014 season against Fairfield, leading Loyola with four assists and three steals in 32 minutes of action. He took just two shots, but he went 6-of-6 from the free throw line to finish with eight points.
Williams has maintained a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio this year with 12 assists in the first three games.
Making It A Tradition
The Greyhounds jumped out to a 13-3 lead in the four-plus minutes of Saturday’s games, but then a Loyola-Fairfield broke out.
The 59-52 final score was indicative of recent games played between the former Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opponents. No team has scored more than 70 points in a game between the two since Fairfield edged the Greyhounds, 73-69, on January 28, 2010, a span of nine meetings.
In fact, it has been since a March 3, 2007, contest that both teams scored 70 or more (Loyola won, 76-72), a span of 16 games.
Series History Versus UMBC
Loyola and UMBC will meet for the 47th time in series history on Wednesday. Winners of the last six meetings, Loyola holds a 28-18 advantage in the all-time series.
Loyola won the first game of the series in 1971, a 78-48 decision that was during the Greyhounds’ run to the Mason-Dixon Conference Championship. Loyola won the first 10 meetings between the teams before the Retrievers’ first victory in February 1977.
The Greyhounds defeated the Retrievers, 86-70, on November 14, 2012, in Reitz Arena. Erik Etherly scored a game-high 22 points, while Tyler Hubbard and Dylon Cormier both scored 17.
Hubbard hit 6-of-7 shots, 4-of-5 from behind the 3-point arc, to set his career-high in points. Fourteen of his points game in the first half, as Loyola led 45-30 at the break. Franz Rassman came off the bench in the game to score eight points and lead Loyola with nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
Loyola went on the road to UMBC in 2011 and came away with a 73-63 victory, the 100th of Head Coach Jimmy Patsos’ career.
Loyola’s 3-0 record through the first week of the year marks the first time since 2005-2006 that the Greyhounds have opened the season with a pair of wins.
It is also the first time in Loyola’s Division I era (since 1981-1982) that the Greyhounds started 2-0 with both wins coming on the road.
G. G. Smith is the first Loyola head coach to start his tenure on the Greyhounds’ bench with three-straight wins since Walter Comerford did so in 1928-1929 when Loyola opened 6-0.
Loyola’s bench players averaged 31 points in the first two games, led by the 17.5 points per game average of Jarred Jones in those contests. The Greyhounds non-starters scored 32 in the opener against Binghamton and then had 30 versus Cornell.
While the Greyhounds’ reserves scored only 20 points against Fairfield, Loyola did receive seven each from Jones and Tyler Hubbard. Jones played just nine minutes due to foul trouble, but he was 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in the game.
The players coming off the bench have done their scoring in an efficient manner, shooting .491 from the field, and they are playing just 34 percent of the available minutes in the games.
Cormier Earns League Acclaim
Dylon Cormier had a career-high setting opening weekend in the Greyhounds’ victories over Binghamton University and Cornell University, and he was named the Anaconda Sports Patriot League Player of the Week on Monday for his efforts.
Through two games this year, Cormier is averaging 32.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game.
He set and reset his career-high in scoring last weekend, tallying 31 in the season-opening win over the Bearcats before going for 34 less than 48 hours later against Cornell.
Against the Big Red, Cormier had a career-high 11 rebounds for his first collegiate double-double, and he had three steals in both outings.
Down The Stretch
As good as Dylon Cormier has been this season, he has been at his best during the waning minutes of games. In the final 10 minutes of Loyola’s first three contests, Cormier has scored 38 points, more than half of the Greyhounds’ 73 during that time period.
In the final 10 minutes of each game, Loyola has outscored opponents, 73-54, more than the 16-point combined differential in the three wins.
Cormier’s 30+ Point Games
Dylon Cormier is the first player in Loyola men’s basketball history to post two 30+ point games to start the season.
He is the first Loyola player to score 30 or more in back-to-back outings since Andre 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.
Latham Big In OT
Jordan Latham played all five minutes of the Greyhounds’ overtime period at Cornell, and the senior forward came up with four big points, all off offensive rebounds.
After Cornell scored the first points of the extra period, Latham pulled down a rebound off a Jarred Jones miss and laid it in to tie the score at 81-81, and then with the Greyhounds trailing again by a pair, he tipped in a rebound from five feet out to knot the score at 85-85 with 2:07 to play. Loyola would take the lead for good 23 seconds later.
Latham finished the game with 10 points and a career-high seven rebounds. He also blocked two shots, giving him 59 for his Loyola career to move into a tie with Anthony Smith (1995-1997) for ninth all-time at the school.
The Difference A Year Makes
When talking about his coaching philosophies, first-year head coach G.G. Smith has said that he would like the team to play a bit faster on the offensive end than in past years, and that was shown in the two games.
Loyola’s 79 and 93 point outputs in just two contests would both rank in the top five of single-game scoring totals from the 2012-2013 season when the team averaged 66.9 points per game.
Conversely, it has led the Greyhounds to allowing more points, 74 and 89, considerably higher than last year’s 63.5 points per game.
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.
He followed that game with a 13-point, 7-rebound effort against Cornell.
Quality Minutes From Gorski
True freshman Nick Gorski picked some nice spots to contribute in the opening games, particularly in his 13 minutes off the bench at Cornell. The Richmond, Va., product scored seven points and had four rebounds against the Big Red.
In the second half, Gorski knocked down a three from the top of the perimeter at 11:59, pushing Loyola back in front for the first time since the first 30 seconds of the half. He then used a strong post move and scored in the paint almost two minutes later to tie the score at 66-66.
Laster In Double Figures
After averaging just 5.3 minutes in 27 games last season, Eric Laster saw his role expand dramatically this season, starting the first two games on the wing. He tied for the team lead in minutes played (34) at Cornell, and he scored in double figures (10) for the first time as a collegian.
In two games, Laster has shot 5-of-11 from the field an 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Last season, he was just 10-of-31 (.323) overall and 1-of-7 (.143) from behind the arc.
Three players made their Greyhound debuts at Binghamton 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.
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
In addition to sporting a new coach, 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.
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 Fairfield University was broadcast, as was the November 20 game at UMBC and the December 7 affair 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 onDecember 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 Monday nights 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:
||Morris Cannon 1,310
|Field Goals Made
||427 field goals made
||Robert Olson, 429
||86 3-Pt. Made
||Teron Owens, 92
|Free Throws Made
||361 free throws made
||Gerald Brown, 365
||Mark Rhode, 179
||Mike Powell, 154
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.
Loyola will stay on the road for its next two games, the first of which will come in Hartford, Conn., on Tuesday, November 26, at 7 o’clock, where the Greyhounds will face the University of Connecticut.
After that game, Loyola will break for Thanksgiving before taking on West Virginia University on Monday, December 2, at 7 o’clock in Morgantown.