Jan. 6, 2008
BALTIMORE - Loyola used a 28-6 run that spanned both halves and erased an eight-point first half Iona lead to beat the Gaels, 63-51, on Sunday afternoon in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game in Reitz Arena. The Greyhounds doubled their shooting percentage in the second half and seniors Gerald Brown and Michael Tuck each collected double-doubles as Loyola snapped a three-game losing streak and evened its record to 2-2 in conference play.
"This program was built to bring some excitement to Baltimore basketball," fourth-year Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos said. "Sometimes that means that you are going to be down in the first half and make a comeback. This team showed a lot of character today by being able to do that. I'm proud of the way we bounced back after a tough loss Friday night [to Fairfield]."
The Greyhounds (6-8 overall, 2-2 MAAC) made just 7-of-24 shots (29.2-percent) from the field in the first half and fell behind by as many as eight, 24-16, as Milan Prodanovic made two free throws with 3:13 remaining before the break.
Freshman guard Brian Rudolph scored his only basket of the game on a layup with 2:17 left in the first half, breaking a span of 11:45 that the Greyhounds went without a field goal. The goal started a 28-6 run that lasted 13:45 and gave Loyola a 44-30 advantage with 9:46 remaining in the game on a layup by senior forward Michael Tuck.
Loyola took a 9-2 lead in the game's first three minutes, but Iona (5-11, 1-3 MAAC) scored nine unanswered points to take an 11-9 lead on a Gary Springer layup.
Prodanovic's steal and coast-to-coast layup gave Iona the lead, 22-14, with 3:57 in the first half. Two Brown free throws cut Loyola's deficit to six on the ensuing possession, but Prodanovic then made two more free throws before Rudolph started Loyola's run with his layup.
Sophomore guard Brett Harvey made one of two free throws on Loyola's second possession after halftime, then junior guard Marquis Sullivan took a pass from Tuck at the top of the perimeter and nailed a 3-pointer, giving the Greyhounds a 26-25 lead 1:36 into the second frame.
Devon Clarke's dunk on Iona's next possession, and Rashon Dwight's free throws on Iona's next trip down the court gave the Gaels the lead again, 28-26, but Loyola would take the lead for good when Brown hit a 3-pointer from the right side with 16:37 left in the game.
"When a guy goes 5-of-15 (from the field) and has six turnovers, most guys would hang their heads," Patsos said. "But, Gerald just kept playing through it and made the difference. Forget the 16 points, his 11 rebounds were because he was totally unselfish and from outstanding effort. He said he would get 10 rebounds before the game, and he got 11."
After Brown's 3-pointer, he then fed Tuck for a layup, and Tuck found junior forward Dan Ficke for a basket in the paint to stake a five-point lead for the Greyhounds.
Ficke came off the bench to grab five boards and score two points while playing a career-high 17 minutes. He entered the game having played 42 minutes in three years in a Loyola uniform.
"With Hassan [Fofana] being hurt, I knew I might get my chance to get some minutes," Ficke commented. "When I got in in the first half, I just tried to play as hard as I could. The longer I was in there, the more comfortable I felt."
Loyola, which lost 92-68 on December 7 at Iona in the teams' first meeting of the season, extended its lead to as many as 16 with 4:29 to play on two Rudolph free throws.
De'Shaune Griffin made two free throws to cut the Greyhounds' lead to 53-46 with 2:23 left, but Loyola made eight-of-nine free throws in the final 1:53 to secure its second conference win of the season.
In addition to Brown's game-high of 16 points and 11 rebounds, he also had four steals. Tuck finished with his second double-double of the year with 10 points and 10 boards, and Rudolph, who was 10-of-12 from the free throw line scored a career-high 12.
Prodanovic was the only player in double figures for Iona, finishing with 10. The Gaels shot just 33.3 percent from the field in the game, 55 percent from the free throw line.
Loyola returns to the court on Tuesday, January 8, when they face the No. 3-ranked Kansas Jayhawks at 8 p.m. (EST) in Phog Allen Field House.