March 1, 2009
New Rochelle, N.Y. - Greyhounds freshman forward Anthony Winbush hit three-pointers on each end of a key second-half 10-0 run which gave Loyola the lead for good and finished with a career-high 17 points to lead the Greyhounds to a 70-63 MAAC road win at Iona in the regular-season finale for both teams. The victory ended a seven-game losing streak for Loyola while the Gaels dropped their fourth straight.
The teams finished the regular season tied with 7-11 conference records and split their regular-season matchups, but Iona received the No. 7 seed at this weekend's MAAC Championship by virtue of its win over second-seeded Niagara. The Greyhounds are seeded No. 8 and will play Canisius on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in a First Round game at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y.
"The good news is February is over," were the first comments of Greyhounds fifth-year head coach Jimmy Patsos after Loyola snapped its seven-game losing streak. "It was a gutty, gutty performance and I'm really proud of the way Anthony Winbush has played the last two games when we have needed him. We were lucky to win here. For Loyola to get a win here with all of the tradition and NCAA and NIT banners that are hanging here is a real accomplishment.
Loyola (12-19) found itself trailing 31-19 with 5:16 left in the first half before starting its comeback. The Greyhounds finished the half by scoring 13 of the final 15 points and when sophomore guard Brian Rudolph drove and made a layup on the first possession after the intermission, Loyola had its first lead of the game at 34-33. The contest would be tied six times and the lead would change hands nine times, the last time on a Winbush three-pointer with 6:24 remaining to give Loyola a 57-56 advantage. The shot triggered 10 straight Greyhounds points as junior forward Jawaan Wright hit a pair of free throws and sophomore guard Tony Lewis connected on an eight-foot jump hook before Winbush's third three-pointer of the game to give Loyola a 64-56 lead with 3:59 left.
When Devon Clarke completed a conventional three-point play with 32.1 ticks remaining, the Gaels were down just three at 66-63, but junior guard Brett Harvey and Winbush drained both ends of one-and-ones to close out the scoring and seal the Loyola victory.
The Greyhounds played the game without leading scorer Jamal Barney and lost sophomore forward Isaac Reid to injury in the first half. They finished 50 percent from the field (22-44), 56.3 percent from three-point range (9-16) and 85.0 percent from the free-throw line (17-20). Eight Greyhounds scored and eight played 13 or more minutes.
In addition to Winbush's career high, Rudolph handed out a career-best 12 assists and scored nine points. Senior guard Marquis Sullivan connected on four three-pointers as part of his 14 points off the bench and Harvey added another 10 as a reserve as the Greyhounds held a 30-10 advantage in bench scoring.
Iona seniors Gary Springer (18 points, nine rebounds) and Clarke (12 points, three steals) led the Gaels in their final home appearances while freshman Scott Machado scored 11 points with nine assists.