March 5, 2010
ALBANY, N.Y. - Manhattan went on a 17-2 run after Loyola scored the game's first basket and never looked back as it recorded a 94-79 MAAC Championship First Round victory Friday night at the Times Union Center. The Jaspers now advance to Saturday's MAAC Championship Quarterfinal against top-seeded Siena while the season ends for the Greyhounds with five losses in their last six outings.
"We just didn't have it early and I don't think you can fall behind like that and come back very often," Greyhounds sixth-year head coach Jimmy Patsos said following the contest. "It was really difficult to come back from giving up 51 points in the first half. Tonight was a microcosm of our season. We fell behind early, fought our way back and just fell a little bit short."
Loyola went inside on its first possession of the game and senior forward Jawaan Wright made a layup 14 seconds into the game to give the Greyhounds the only lead they would enjoy all night. Manhattan would score the contest's next 14 points and six minutes into the game owned a 17-4 lead following a Rico Pickett three-pointer, his third straight basket and seventh straight point. The Jaspers built a lead as large as 19 prior to the intermission and held a 51-36 lead at halftime as Pickett scored 23 points.
The Greyhounds fought their way back into the contest largely behind the shot-making of sophomore forward Shane Walker. He converted a three-point play, dunked in a loose ball following a Jaspers turnover, then made consecutive three-pointers to cut Loyola's deficit to seven points (57-50) 3:05 into the second half. The 11 points came after he had scored just one basket on one shot in the first 20 minutes.
He scored six straight points later in the half and when junior guard Jamal Barney connected on a pair of free throws with 10:25 left, Loyola had chiseled away 10 of its 15-point halftime deficit. Neither team would score for the next 90 seconds, but the Greyhounds had just one shot at the basket during the stretch as Manhattan collected two of its 17 offensive rebounds on its sandwich possessions, eventually scoring on an Andrew Gabriel put-back with 8:52 left for a 69-62 advantage.
Loyola got its deficit back to five on its next possession on a baseline jumper by senior guard Tony Lewis, but Patrick Bouli drained a wide-open three-pointer and George Beamon scored five straight points for an 11-point Jaspers lead with 6:31 remaining.
A third Walker three-pointer of the half made it a six-point game with 5:22 left, but Manhattan converted eight of 11 foul shots to build its advantage back up to 17, leading 93-76 with 96 seconds remaining. One more Beamon free throw and the Jaspers, who entered the game averaging 64.7 points through 29 contests, had torched Loyola for the most points allowed in a MAAC Championship contest and most points since the Greyhounds allowed 94 points at Seton Hall on November 20, 2007.
Pickett nearly double his 17-point average, finishing with 33 points with 10 field goals and making 10 of 11 free throws. Darryl Crawford collected his second double-double against Loyola in six days with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Brandon Adams added 14 points, including six of seven from the foul line, and Beamon scored 13 points off the bench with seven foul shots. As a team, Manhattan equaled a MAAC Championship record with 38 made free throws with the 46 attempted falling two shy of matching another.
Walker scored 24 of his career-high 26 points after the intermission, making nine of his 11 tries from the field including all three of his three-point attempts. He added a team-high eight rebounds, seven of those in the second half. Barney finished with 13 points and seven rebounds with only two of those points coming in the second half. Senior guard Brett Harvey finished his final game in a Loyola uniform with a school-record 121 appearances and 20th all-time in scoring with his 10 points giving him 1,208 for his career.