Jan. 21, 2007
Lawrenceville, N.J. - Junior guard Gerald Brown poured in 31 points to lead Loyola to its seventh straight conference victory as the Greyhounds posted a 78-73 MAAC road win at Rider Sunday afternoon at Alumni Gymnasium. The win keeps Loyola in first place in the MAAC standings with a 7-1 league record, 11-7 overall. The loss dropped Rider to 10-9, 4-5 in MAAC play.
The conference's leading scorer, Brown collected his fifth game of 30-plus points this season and is now averaging 23.3 points per outing. In recording its seventh straight conference victory, the Greyhounds equaled the run posted by the 1996-97 edition which won seven straight to close out the season en route to a 10-4 league record and tie for second place in the standings.
"Gerald Brown can really play," Greyhounds third-year coach said of the Baltimore native after the game. "He wanted the ball at the end. I'm not surprised because he is a competitive guy and he really just wants to win. But give Rider credit; they kept coming after us and Jason Thompson is an NBA player - not a prospect, but a player."
Save for leads of 3-0 and 3-2 following a Lamar Johnson three-pointer from Rider to open the game, Loyola never trailed in the game, although the score was tied five times. The Greyhounds broke a 6-6 tie with eight straight points behind two three-pointers from Brown and a bucket from sophomore guard Marquis Sullivan to go ahead 14-6 with 14:35 left in the first half. The Broncs battled back to tie the game at 25-25, but Loyola scored six straight as Sullivan sandwiched baskets around a Sullivan jumped for a 31-25 lead with four minutes remaining. The lead swelled to eight at 38-30 on a long Brown three-pointer that just beat the shot clock and the half ended 38-32 in favor of the Greyhounds. Brown entered intermission with 19 points and Sullivan finished with 12.
Loyola appeared to seize control early after the intermission scoring the second half's first nine points as junior forward Michael Tuck sandwiched three-pointers around a three-pointer from freshman guard Brett Harvey to take a 47-35 lead with 17:02 left in the game. Six straight free throws and consecutive three-pointers from Lamar Johnson keyed a 12-2 Rider run to close within two at 49-47 with 12:44 remaining.
The game would be tied twice over the next seven minutes, but Loyola would not be headed. The final tie came at 60-60 with 5:46 remaining, but Brown scored five quick points and then assisted on a layup by junior forward Omari Isreal to push the lead to seven at 67-60 with 4:13 left.
Three straight Broncs three-pointers inside the game's final 82 seconds brought Rider within a possession at 74-71 with 55 seconds remaining, but Loyola made four-of-six from the line to offset a pair of free throws from Jason Thompson to close out the scoring.
"They're a really good team and it's tough to get a road win," Brown said after the contest. "It was good for us to get the win and now we can go back home and concentrate on Manhattan."
Brown added three rebounds and three assists to his 31-point scoring effort. Sullivan finished with 14 and a career-high seven rebounds while Tuck scored 12 in the second half to finish with 14, adding six rebounds.
Rider was led by Jason Thompson's double-double, scoring 21 points with 13 rebounds. Johnson added 20, Harris Mansell 15 and Ryan Thompson 11 off the bench.
The 7-1 MAAC record finds Loyola in first place, a full game ahead of Manhattan and Marist. The Jaspers are the next opponent for the Greyhounds as they visit Reitz Arena Wednesday in a 7 o'clock start.