March 16, 2012
PITTSBURGH - The Loyola University Maryland men's basketball team saw its historic and memorable season come to an end Thursday evening in the NCAA Tournament Second Round, as Ohio State handed the Greyhounds a 78-59 loss in front of 19,413 fans at the CONSOL Energy Center.
Loyola concluded the year with its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 18 years and a school-record 24 wins, marking its first 20-win season in Division I history. In addition, the Greyhounds won their second MAAC Championship in 23 years in the conference and first since 1994.
Junior Erik Etherly led Loyola (24-9) with his 26th double-digit scoring performance, recording 19 points, to go with four blocks and a team-high seven rebounds, while sophomore Dylon Cormier added 14 points.
For Ohio State (28-7), Deshaun Thomas led the way with 31 points, marking the most that an individual player has scored against the Greyhounds this season. Thomas also collected 12 rebounds for a double-double, while William Buford and Jared Sullinger scored 17 and 12 points, respectively.
Loyola held a brief 5-1 advantage at the beginning of the game, but Sullinger knocked down a jumper, followed by a 3-pointer to give Ohio State a 6-5 lead with 17:11 to play.
Thomas added to the Buckeye's lead with a basket at 15:37, before Etherly hit a jumper to pull Loyola within one, at 8-7. The Buckeyes then turned three-straight possessions into five points and led 13-7 at the 13:20 mark.
Senior Shane Walker hit a shot for Loyola to pull the Greyhounds within four, but Ohio State would work its lead to nine following a three-point play by Thomas at 11:54.
The Buckeyes would hold onto that advantage until a jumper from Walker cut the Greyhounds' deficit to six, 26-20, at 8:46. Ohio State would score 11 of the next 13, however, and that is as close as Loyola would draw the remainder of the game.
A 3-pointer from junior Robert Olson at 1:35 pulled Loyola within 10, 40-30, but a layup from Thomas and a free throw from Olson gave the Buckeyes a 42-31 halftime lead.
Ohio State opened the second half on a 6-0 run, extending its lead to 48-31, before Loyola was able to get on the board following a Cormier layup at 17:38.
The Greyhounds would continue to battle though, cutting Ohio State's lead to 12 at 14:22 on a free throw from junior Julius Brooks, but the Buckeyes would use another 7-0 run to extend their lead 19 at 57-38 with 12:35 to play.
Ohio State would hold that advantage until a layup from Thomas gave the Buckeyes their largest lead of the game, 70-50, with 5:35 left. From there, the Greyhounds would receive consecutive points from Olson, Cormier and Etherly, before free throws from sophomore Jordan Latham cut Loyola's deficit to 11 at 2:18, 70-59.
The Buckeyes closed the game on a 8-0 run though, bringing the final score to 78-59.