March 8, 2008
Albany, N.Y. - Senior guard Gerald Brown's layup off an in-bounds pass from freshman guard Brian Rudolph with 16.9 seconds remaining sealed a 64-59 victory for Loyola over Fairfield in a MAAC Quarterfinal game Saturday afternoon at the Times Union Center. The Greyhounds will play top-seeded Siena on Sunday evening at 6 o'clock.
"Any time we play Fairfield, it's a great game and today was no different," Loyola fourth-year head coach Jimmy Patsos said following the contest. "We were lucky to gut it out. I'm really proud of our Loyola fans who came out today. But I'm very proud of Gerald Brown. This program wouldn't be where it is if it weren't for Gerald Brown. He picked us two years ago and he just wouldn't let us lose."
Indeed, Brown provided two of Loyola's biggest baskets of the second half. After Fairfield (14-16) pulled within 50-48 following a 27-11 Stags run with 10:31 left on a three-pointer from Jonathan Han, Brown answered with a three-pointer of his own with 9:37 remaining to put Loyola back up five. His final basket when he shook himself free for a layup on the in-bounds pass underneath Loyola's basket sealed the win and sent the Greyhounds to the semifinals for the second straight season.
"The coaches were all calling time out," Brown described of the final play. "I just cut as hard as I could and told Brian to throw it to me. I just sprinted down the lane and I got it and laid it in."
The Greyhounds appeared to seize control of the game by scoring 17 straight points over a stretch of 6:38 that spanned both halves to take a 39-21 lead with 19:07 left on a layup from sophomore guard Brett Harvey. After a pair of Brown free throws, Loyola led 44-26 with just under 17 minutes left. Fairfield quickly scored 11 straight on three straight three-pointers and a two-point basket to cut the lead to seven. The 27-11 run brought the Stags as close as they would get at 50-48.
After the game was tied at eight, Loyola grabbed a lead it would never relinquish when Brown completed a conventional three-point play. The Greyhounds held a 34-21 lead at the half as they used balanced scoring with the leader being senior forward Michael Tuck's nine points.
Brown's 18 points led all scorers. Harvey chipped in with 16 points, including four three-pointers, and Tuck ended with 14 and a game-high eight rebounds. Rudolph added seven points with six assists and five rebounds.
Loyola established a new Division I high with its 19th win and has recorded the most victories in consecutive years (37) since 1954-55 and 1955-56.