Jan. 27, 2012
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. - Justin Drummond scored six of his game-high 21 points during a 15-2 Loyola University Maryland run that pulled the Greyhounds out of a two-point deficit and paved the way for a 67-55 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference victory on Friday night at the Gallagher Center.
Marvin Jordan made 1-of-2 at the free-throw line to pull the Purple Eagles (9-13 overall, 4-6 MAAC) within a point, and an Antoine Mason three gave Niagara a 46-44 lead with just over eight minutes to play.
Drummond tied the game with a layup off an R.J. Williams assist 26 seconds later, and he made two free throws with 7:12 on the clock to put Loyola (15-5, 8-2) up for good.
Drummond was 11-of-12 from the free-throw line in the second half.
Erik Etherly, who had 18 points, slipped through traffic, caught a Williams pass and dunked to put Loyola up four, and Shane Walker was fouled pulling down a rebound and made two at the line with 5:11 left.
Walker then hit a three from the left side with the shot-clock winding down, pushing the advantage to nine, 55-46, with 3:10 remaining.
Loyola then made 9-of-11 free throws in the last two minutes to seal the victory.
The Greyhounds shot a season-best 68.8-percent (11-of-16) from the field in the second half, and they were 19-of-22 from the charity stripe after the break. Their 52.5-percent (21-of-40) mark from the field in the game was their second-best outing of the season.
"Justin stepped up and was aggressive, driving the ball to the basket and getting to the foul line when we needed him to be," Head Coach Jimmy Patsos said. "We were playing without our leading scorer, Dylon Cormier who is getting over an ankle injury, for most of the game, but a lot of guys stepped up to fill that role."
The Greyhounds took a four-point lead at halftime, but Niagara tied the score twice in the first four minutes of the second half. Each time, however, the Greyhounds came back to take the lead on their next possession.
Williams sliced into the lane nearly three minutes later and dropped in a floater with 14:22 left, putting Loyola up 38-33.
The freshman guard finished with eight points and a career-high seven assists while committing just one turnover. His seven helpers were one more than the Purple Eagles' six as a team.
Niagara slowly chipped away at the Greyhounds' lead, however, slicing it to one on four occasions over the next five-plus minutes. Twice Drummond scored two push it back to three, and a third time Etherly laid the ball in.
The fourth time, however, the Purple Eagles made it a one-point game, Mason's three put them on top for a final time.
He finished with a team-high 19 points, while his backcourt mate Juan'ya Green added 14. No other Niagara player, however, scored more than six.
Drummond's 21 marked the second time this season the sophomore has eclipsed the 20-point barrier against the Purple Eagles. He tallied 23 when Niagara won by five in Baltimore on January 2.
He also had a career-best four steals in this game.
Robert Olson added 11 points and a game-high seven rebounds for Loyola. He had three assists without a turnover for the Greyhounds, as well.
The Greyhounds continued their best start in school Division I history (since 1981-1982). At 8-2, it is also the best conference start since joining the MAAC in 1989-1990.
Loyola continues MAAC play on Sunday in Buffalo when they play Canisius College at 2:15 p.m.