Jan. 11, 2014
BALTIMORE - Dylon Cormier score a game-high 25 points to pace a balanced offensive effort, but it was solid defense and rebounding that proved the difference as Loyola University Maryland defeated Lehigh University, 72-68, on Saturday afternoon in Patriot League action.
The Greyhounds shot 60 percent from the field in the second half and 50 percent in the game as they trailed for just 33 seconds overall.
Loyola (7-8 overall, 2-2 PL) led 35-32 at halftime, and it was again a three-point lead, 39-36, when Lehigh's leading scorer Mackey McKnight tallied his first points of the game with a 20-foot jumper 1:22 into the second half.
Cormier sparked an 11-0 Loyola run with a nifty pass to Eric Laster for a layup on the Greyhounds' next possession. Cormier then had a fast-break layup off a R.J. Williams steal and assist, and Franz Rassman cut to the basket for a layup after catching a pass from Latham, his fellow post-player.
Rassman's basket at 16:54 made it 45-36 Loyola, and Cormier extended it to a 12-point advantage at 14:39 with a traditional 3-point play after sinking a layup and making the ensuing free throw after drawing a foul.
Latham then used a double pump-fake to score in the paint at 13:44, capping the 11-0 run to put Loyola in front, 50-36. The 14-point lead would be the Greyhounds' largest of the game.
During the run, Loyola held Lehigh without a field goal on eight attempts, and the Greyhounds forced two Mountain Hawk turnovers.
"I was very impressed with Jordan Latham and Franz Rassman today," Head Coach G.G. Smith said. "I thought that they did a really good job of making their presence felt from the beginning on offense, clogging the lane, rebounding and moving the ball."
Despite playing with first-half foul trouble, Latham finished three points off his career-high of 17 and grabbed six rebounds. Rassman tallied seven points and four boards.
After Loyola went up 13, Lehigh (8-9, 1-3) cut its deficit back to nine on a three and layup by McKnight. The Mountain Hawks' leading scorer did not record a point in the first half, but he finished with a team-high 17.
The Greyhounds pushed their lead back to 13 on two occasions after that as Tyler Hubbard and Denzel Brito hit jumpers on back-to-back possessions. Brito's, which came with the shot-clock expiring, put Loyola ahead, 56-43.
Lehigh, however, had a run in it, scoring 11 of the next 13 points, and when McKnight made 1-of-2 at the line, the Mountain Hawks were within four, 58-54. Justin Goldsborough scored six of his 14 points during the stretch.
Hubbard stopped the run with a three from the right side off a Williams assist, but Stefan Cvrkalj answered with a three for Lehigh to make it 61-57 with 5:36 left.
Cormier scored the next four points, and Loyola did not allow the Mountain Hawks to draw closer than four until Tim Kempton hit a 20-footer with less than four seconds remaining.
For the Greyhounds, it was their best shooting performance in eight games and the first time they have shot 50 percent or better from the field since December 4, 2013, against Catholic University of American.
Loyola had 14 assists in the game, led by Williams' five, its most since tallying the same number on December 21, 2013, against Saint Joseph's University, a span of five games.
Cormier led Loyola in rebounds, as well, pulling down eight. The Greyhounds narrowly outrebounded Lehigh, 33-31, and Loyola turned 12 offensive rebounds into 16 second-chance points.
The Greyhounds will be back in action quickly, as they host Lafayette College at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, January 13, in a game that will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.