Feb. 10, 2012
BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland men's basketball raced out to a 17-point halftime and a 25-point advantage in the second half, and the Greyhounds held off a late Iona College charge for an 87-81 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference victory on Friday night in Reitz Arena.
Reitz Arena was sold out for the second-straight game, the first time that has happened since the facility opened in 1984.
Loyola (19-5 overall, 12-2) moved into sole possession of first place in the MAAC with the win, and the Greyhounds tied a school Division I win for overall and conference wins.
Sean Armand came off the Iona bench to lead all scorers with 25 points, going 5-of-9 from 3-point range, making three in a row during a second-half stretch where the Gaels (19-6, 11-3) pulled within single digits.
"I thought this was just a great college basketball game, a great MAAC game and a great event for Loyola," Head Coach Jimmy Patsos said. "The fans were tremendous, our students, our alumni and the Baltimore community that has really shown its support. It was a great event. The most important thing is that the (players) are playing really hard."
Lamont Jones made a three for Iona less than six minutes into the game, pulling the Gaels within a point, 11-10. Etherly and Justin Drummond, however, both scored twice in four possessions, igniting a 14-5 run that put Loyola up 25-15 with 7:42 to go.
Iona cut the Greyhounds advantage back to 29-24 on an Armand free throw 6:09 before the half, but Cormier scored four in a row, and Loyola used a 16-4 run before the break to lead 47-30. The Greyhounds shot 52.8-percent from the field, and held the Gaels to 31.3-percent, before the break.
Etherly scored seven points in less than four minutes of the second half, and Loyola tallied 13 of the first 20 to go up by 25, 62-37 on a Drummond jumper with 14:11 remaining.
Iona got it back to 20, 68-48, after Jones made a three and Glover had a layup on back-to-back possessions, but Drummond took a kick-out pass by Etherly and hit a three with 10:19 to go, and Loyola's lead was 23.
The Gaels did not relent, scoring 11 in a row to pull within 10 on an Armand three with 6:10 on the clock.
His three was his first of three in as many possessions, and while Loyola scored its in-between trips down the court, Iona was back just eight, 75-67 with 5:28 on his third triple.
A Loyola turnover led to another Armand look from long range, but this one went off the mark. The Greyhounds then misfired on the offensive end, but they thwarted an Iona shot attempt and forced a turnover after a Gael offensive rebound.
R.J. Williams knocked the ball away from Jones and went fast to the basket for a fast-break layup, giving Loyola what would be its penultimate double-digit lead of the game, 77-67, with 4:27 to play.
Glover and Etherly traded 1-of-2 trips to their respective free throw lines, but then Iona fed the ball into Glover who scored on three straight possessions. Cormier made a pair from the line during that stretch, but Glover's third layup with 1:59 to play made the score 80-74.
Neither team could do more than 1-of-2 at the line in the next minute before Armand made a pair with 67 ticks on the clock to trim Loyola's advantage back to five.
Olson made a free throw on the next Loyola possession, but he was called for a lane violation on the second shot, turning the ball over to the Gaels. Scott Machado raced the length of the court for Iona and laid in the ball with 26 seconds to go, cutting Loyola's lead to four, 83-79.
Olson was fouled on the inbounds play, six seconds later, and this time he made good on both shots for Loyola. Jones then missed a three, and Etherly corralled the rebound, was fouled and iced the victory with two from the line with 11 ticks on the clock.
Loyola finished the game 50.8-percent from the field, and the Greyhounds dished out 15 assists. Williams led the way with five helpers to go with two steals and nine points.
Etherly also blocked two shots, but the Greyhounds were buoyed by the presence of Jordan Latham off the bench. Latham did not play in the first meeting with the Gaels, an Iona win on January 15 in New Rochelle, N.Y., but he blocked a career-high four shots in 14 minutes Friday night.
Loyola's 87 points were a season-best, but Iona's 81 snapped a streak of six-straight games the Greyhounds had held opponents to 57 or fewer.
The Greyhounds are back in action on Sunday afternoon on ESPN3.com in another MAAC battle. Loyola will host Fairfield University at 4 p.m. in Reitz Arena.