March 5, 2011
Bridgeport, Conn. - Jeron Belin scored 17 points off the bench and fourth-seeded Saint Peter's shot 52.3 percent for the game as the Peacocks advanced past fifth-seeded Loyola, 70-60, Saturday afternoon in a quarterfinal matchup from the 2011 Spark Energy MAAC Basketball Championship at Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard.
Saint Peter's (18-13) will play top-seeded Fairfield in the first MAAC Semifinal on Sunday afternoon. Loyola has its season end at 15-15.
"I thought the first five minutes of the game killed us," Greyhounds seven-year head coach Jimmy Patsos said following the loss. "We missed layups and free throw and that was the game. They had four seniors out there and we had one. Their experience was a big factor as well."
Both teams battled with early-game jitters, but Saint Peter's made three of its four shot attempts and four of five free throws during the game's first five minutes while the Greyhounds missed their first six shots and converted just two of six tries from the foul line. Loyola did not connect on a basket until a three-pointer from senior guard Brian Rudolph seven minutes into the contest to make the score 10-5.
With 9:34 remaining before intermission, the Peacocks had their largest lead of the first half at 20-10 and held a 31-23 advantage at halftime after shooting 50.0 percent (10-20) while limiting Loyola to just six first-half field goals.
After 2:45 had elapsed into the second half, Saint Peter's had scored nine straight and built its largest lead of the contest at 37-23. Twice the Greyhounds would put together runs to cut into 14-point deficits, the first coming with six straight points in just over a minute to trail 48-40 with just under 11 minutes left.
The Peacocks answered with six straight of their own over 33 seconds and the Saint Peter's lead was back to 14. But again, Loyola fought back, scoring 15 of the next 19 points to pull within 58-55 with 5:37 to play after an offensive putback by junior forward Shane Walker.
On consecutive possessions, the Greyhounds had a chance to get within one or tie, but two misfired jump shots were answered by two Belin free throws and a floater in the lane by Steven Samuels for a 62-55 lead and Loyola could get no closer.
Freshman guard Justin Drummond led all scorers with 18 points with 14 of them coming in the second half. Sophomore forward Erik Etherly recorded his fifth double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds and Walker matched him with 13 points. After Belin's 17 points, Saint Peter's Ryan Bacon scored 15 with a team-high seven boards. Darius Conley added 11 and Samuels chipped in with 10.