Jan. 29, 2008
Newark, N.J. - Senior guard Gerald Brown scored 16 points while playing every minute of the second half after sitting the entire first half and senior forward Michael Tuck matched his career-high with 23 points to lead Loyola to its fifth straight win with a 72-54 non-conference win at New Jersey Institute of Technology Tuesday night at the Fleisher Athletic Center. The loss was the 26th consecutive for the Highlanders, 22 of those to open the season.
"I thought we were going to lose the game," Greyhounds fourth-year coach Jimmy Patsos said of his decision to start his leading scorer in the second half. "Gerald brings a certain toughness and a calming influence to our team. I just asked them to run the offense because we were playing so many young guys in the first half that we were a little out of sync.
Brown, who was held out to rest an injury, made an immediate impact after the intermission as he scored five points and grabbed two defensive rebounds in the first eight minutes of the second half as Loyola (12-10) built its largest lead of the game by scoring 17 of the first 22 points to take a 48-30 lead. The Highlanders would not get the deficit below double digits for the remainder of the game as the Greyhounds shot 80 percent from the free-throw line in the second half (16-20).
The game looked like it might be over early as Loyola scored 18 straight points to turn a 5-2 deficit into a 20-5 lead on a free throw from freshman guard Brian Rudolph with 12:15 remaining. After a Rudolph layup, the Greyhounds led 24-7 with 10:21 left, but the Highlanders would score 13 straight over the next five minutes to pull within 24-20. The halftime score had Loyola out in front 31-25 as Tuck finished the half with 11 points.
The Greyhounds last won five straight when it opened the 2005-06 season with five consecutive wins. Loyola continued its defensive mastery by holding its fourth straight opponent to 60 points or less as New Jersey Institute made just 25 percent of its field-goal attempts for the game (16-64).
Tuck made eight of 12 from the field and six of seven from the foul line as he equaled the career-high he set last week against Siena. He has scored 20 or more in three of four games, averaging 20.3 in that stretch. Junior guard Marquis Sullivan was the only other Loyola player in double digits with 13. Tuck's eight rebounds led Loyola and senior forward Omari Isreal grabbed eight boards and blocked three shots.
The Highlanders were led by Jheryl Wilson's 12 points. Kraig Peters scored 11 and Dan Stonkus recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Loyola puts its five-game winning streak on the line Friday when it returns to MAAC play with a game at Niagara.