Jan. 27, 2007
New Rochelle, N.Y. - The Greyhounds' defense held Iona without a field goal for a nine-minute stretch over the first and second halves and a seven-minute stretch in the second half and junior guard Gerald Brown poured in 25 points as Loyola posted its fifth straight conference road win and eighth league win in nine tries with a 71-61 road win at Iona Saturday afternoon.
With losses by Marist Friday and Manhattan Saturday, the win put Loyola back in sole possession of first place atop the MAAC standings with an 8-2 league mark, 12-8 overall. The loss was the 20th straight to open the season for Iona and extends its school-record to 21 straight defeats. Coupled with the win over Manhattan last month, the win over the Gaels gives Loyola a sweep of the two New York City-based members for the first time since joining the MAAC in 1989-90.
"The pressure is back on us and it is up to us as to how we respond," third-year head coach Jimmy Patsos commented after the game. "We were in this position last week and didn't play our best game against a very good Manhattan team and lost. We're trying to get to where we can win and then handle winning."
After Iona jumped out with four straight points to open the game, Loyola battled back to force a 7-7 tie with 16 minutes remaining in the first half. The Greyhounds finished the half on a 33-15 run to take a 40-22 lead at the intermission, including holding the Gaels without a field goal for the final 8:30 of the half. Brown finished the half with 11 points on five-of-seven shooting as Loyola shot 57.1 percent for the half.
The Greyhounds extended the lead to 20 at 49-29 with 17:18 remaining before Iona caught fire behind seven straight points from Kevin Hassett to close within nine at 57-48 with 10:51 left. Loyola answered with a 9-1 run of its own to pull ahead 66-49 with 5:51 remaining, holding the Gaels without a field goal during the stretch.
After being held to just nine points in the loss to Manhattan, Brown's 25 were game-high honors. The conference's leading scorer, he added four rebounds and two assists while playing just 29 minutes with foul trouble.
"Gerald Brown is as good a player as I have been around in terms of playing the whole game - scoring, passing, playing defense," Patsos said of his junior guard. "We're a different team without him, but guys stepped up today when we needed them, especially Shane James."
James came of the bench to score just four points, but he grabbed a team-high six rebounds and collected a career-high five steals. Loyola's other senior, forward Josko Alujevic, was the only other player in double figures with 10 points on five-of-seven shooting from the field. Junior forward Omari Isreal and freshman guard Brett Harvey each added nine points.
Hassett led Iona with 14 points off the bench and Milan Prodanovic added 12 points with six rebounds.
The Greyhounds return home Monday for the return game with Siena. Game time at Reitz Arena is 7 o'clock. Loyola captured a 94-87 overtime win at the Times Union Center earlier this month.