Nov. 12, 2010
BALTIMORE - Sophomore Chris Fouch came off the bench to score a game-high 23 points, including seven free throws over the final 70 seconds, and the Dragons never trailed as Drexel held on to record a season-opening non-conference victory Friday night at Loyola's Reitz Arena.
The Dragons (1-0) scored the game's first eight points and held a 30-12 lead 11 minutes into the contest before the Gryehounds began climbing back into the contest. Loyola could only get as close as two, coming after a banked-in three-pointer by senior guard Brian Rudolph with 3.1 seconds remaining. Following Fouch's only missed free throw of the game with 1.9 ticks left, Rudolph's game-tying attempt from the Drexel free-throw line fell harmlessly as the final horn sounded.
"I'm proud of our team, the way we fought back," Greyhounds seventh-year head coach Jimmy Patsos said following the contest. "We gave them too much confidence early. The good news was we caught ourselves and fought our way to get back in it. We knew Drexel would be a tough team to open the season with. They are always a tough game."
Drexel couldn't have started the contest any hotter from the field, shooting 61.1 percent (11-18) in building the 30-12 lead. They would make just 13 more field goals the remainder of the game, but they knocked down 17 second-half free throws to keep the Greyhounds from seizing the lead.
After trailing 39-31 at the intermission, the Greyhounds (0-1) started the second half with four quick points for the closest margin since the game's first minute. Loyola couldn't break through that four-point deficit the entire half and nine straight Dragons points pushed the Drexel advantage to 66-53 with 4:05 remaining.
But Loyola kept the pressure on, getting back within four at 71-67 on a put-back by freshman guard Dylon Cormier with 21.9 remaining. Following two Fouch free throws, Rudolph raced past everyone on the court for a layup to keep the margin at four with 13.8 left. The Dragons converted one of two at the foul line and Rudolph again called his own number with the three-pointer that finally got the Greyhounds down just two points for the first time since the game's opening bucket. Fouch gave Loyola life by missing his only foul shot of the contest after 11 straight conversions, but Rudolph's three-quarter court shot missed.
For Drexel, Fouch added eight rebounds to his game-high point total and forward Samme Givens recorded a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Greyhounds were led by 21 points by senior guard Jamal Barney and 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds by sophomore guard Robert Olson. Junior guard J'hared Hall added 12 points off the bench.
Loyola continues a three-game home stretch to open the season Wednesday when it hosts UMBC at 7 o'clock in Reitz Arena. The game will be televised live on MASN.