Nov. 13, 2007
Baltimore, Md. - Senior guard Gerald Brown poured in 32 points and the Greyhounds shot 9-10 from the free-throw line in the final 40 seconds to secure a 71-67 comeback victory over the American Eagles Tuesday night at Reitz Arena. After trailing by 17 points 12 minutes into the game, Loyola battled back using the free-throw line and pressure defense to earn their second straight home win.
"We didn't start out real well," fourth-year head coach Jimmy Patsos commented following the game. "It was a good TV game. It was important for the school. MASN [television carrier Mid-Atlantic Sports Network] is available on satellite so people all over the country saw us come back tonight."
The Greyhounds struggled early, allowing the Eagles to jump out to an 8-0 lead. Senior forward Omari Isreal gave Loyola its first field goal five-and-a-half minutes into the contest with a thunderous dunk. American built a large lead, utilizing the charity stripe, attempting 16 free throws to Loyola's four in the first half. Derrick Mercer was the catalyst for the Eagles, as he led the team with 16 points in the period, including scoring eight straight points to bring the score to 29-12 at the 8:12 mark. Loyola chipped away at the deficit by connecting on 6-11 shots from downtown and only trailed 40-33 at intermission.
The second half started off inauspiciously for the Greyhounds as American's Garrison Carr hit a deep three just before the shot clock expired for the first points of the period. After that it was all Loyola. The Greyhounds used an 18-3 spurt, only surrendering one basket by American during the eight-minute stretch. Isreal gave the `Hounds their first lead of the game at the 11:33 mark with an alley-oop lay-up and a free throw, converting the three point play. Brown scored nine of the points during the run, but it was a total team effort as five different Greyhounds made field goals. American climbed back into the game with an 11-3 run late in the half, shrinking Loyola's lead to just 62-61. Loyola then sealed the game by connecting on its free throws.
Brown led all scorers as he passed 30 points for the sixth time in his career and has scored 25 or more in six of his last eight outings dating back to last year. He finished the game 12 for 14 from the charity stripe. He also collected five of Loyola's nine steals. Senior forward Michael Tuck chipped in with 13 points and shot 50 percent from the field (5-10). Freshman guard Brian Rudolph ran the point for the majority of the contest and dished out a game-high six assists to go along with his six points.
"Mercer and Carr are as good a backcourt as we are going to see this season and for Brian Rudolph, a freshman, to play the way he did in the second half was key for our comeback," Patsos said of his freshman point guard. "He led our team in the second half with teammates who are a lot older and having a lot more game experience than he has. I thought Rudolph played very well."
Loyola finishes its three-game home stand when they return to the hardwood Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m. against the Vermont Catamounts.