Feb. 25, 2011
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. - Sophomore forward Erik Etherly scored a career-high 19 points and Loyola outscored Niagara 21-6 at the free-throw line in the second as the Greyhounds posted a 75-63 MAAC road win Friday night at the Gallagher Center.
The win snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Purple Eagles for Loyola and was the Greyhounds' first win in the Gallagher Center since a 93-86 victory on January 18, 1997. Loyola is assured of finishing with a non-losing season for the first time since setting the school record for Division I wins in 2007-2008 with 19.
The Greyhounds trailed for just 25 seconds in the game, that coming at the close of a 7-0 Niagara run on a pair of free throws by Anthony Nelson to make the score 15-14. But freshman guard Justin Drummond answered with his only three-pointer of the game for a 17-15 lead with 9:10 to play in the first half. That started a 14-2 stretch for the Greyhounds as they built their largest lead of the half at 28-17 with 6:19 remaining.
Niagara would score 12 of the next 15 points to close within two points and Loyola held that margin with a 33-31 lead at the intermission.
Just four minutes into the second half, Loyola scored eight of the next nine points and grabbed a 45-36 following a running layup by senior guard Brian Rudolph with 15:44 left. Niagara kept the pressure on and trailed by just three at 47-44 with 11:42 remaining, but then junior forward Shane Walker took over. Battling foul trouble all game and fouling out in just 15 minutes, Walker scored nine points in just over four minutes as the Greyhounds pushed the lead back to 10.
Three times the Purple Eagles cut their deficit to six, but each time Loyola increased its lead through converted free throws. The Greyhounds made 13 straight foul shots in the first 16 minutes of the second half to answer Niagara baskets. Loyola did not make a field goal for the final 5:09, connecting on 12 free throws while holding the Purple Eagles to just eight points.
"This was a good win for us," Greyhounds seventh-year head coach Jimmy Patsos said following the contest. "Erik Etherly gave us energy early and late. Shane Walker didn't play that much, but for five minutes, he was the best player on the floor. But Etherly from start to finish was our energy guy."
Loyola finished the game 29 of 39 from the foul stripe as three Greyhounds paraded their way there 10 or more times. Etherly, who opened the game with a pair of dunks to get Loyola started, set his career-high by making nine of his 12 tries from the line in finishing with those 19 points. Freshman guard Dylon Cormier made eight of his 10 attempts from the foul line to close with 15 points while matching his career-best with eight rebounds. Walker ended with 11 points and Drummond matched his classmate with an 8-for-10 outing from the charity stripe and 11 points. Sophomore forward Julius Brooks played many of the minutes available due to Walker's foul trouble and responded with six points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Loyola held a 46-39 advantage off the glass.
Niagara was led by Nelson's 16 points, adding nine rebounds, five assists and five steals. Kashief Edwards collected a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards and Marvin Jordan scored 11 points.
The Greyhounds end the regular season Sunday afternoon at Canisius, meeting the Golden Griffins at 2 o'clock.