Nov. 18, 2007
Baltimore, Md. - Sophomore guard Marquis Sullivan and senior forward Omari Isreal both established career highs in points with 27 and 17, respectively, as Loyola defeated Vermont 83-79 Sunday evening at Reitz Arena. The win was the third straight for the Greyhounds as they rebounded with three consecutive home wins after opening the season with a road loss.
"Tonight was a great game with a great atmosphere," fourth-year head coach Jimmy Patsos said following the victory. "Omari did an unbelievable job for us as he came through by doing all of the little things and Marquis has accepted his role off the bench and his shooting really carried us."
The Catamounts (0-3) had a chance to win on their final possession. Trailing 81-79, Vermont came out of the time out with Mike Trimboli driving the left-hand lane and kicking the ball to Colin McIntosh on the right wing. McIntosh's shot was too strong and sophomore guard Brett Harvey grabbed the rebound. He converted two free throws to seal the Loyola (3-1) win.
Loyola received just three points from leading scorer Gerald Brown, but finished with four players in double figures as Sullivan led the way. Brown has his knee drained on Friday and was held out of practice, causing him to be missing elements of his game.
"I sat out the last two days of practice and I was kind of rusty," said Brown, who entered the game averaging 25.3 points after scoring 32 in his last outing against American. "It was my choice to play and just my presence on the floor gave the other team something to think about. I was out of sync, but my teammates were in sync and hopefully I'll be back on Tuesday."
The first half was fast-paced with both teams committing turnovers and shooting high percentages from the field. Sullivan led the way, shooting 6-7 from the floor and leading the team with 19 points in the half. Early in the period, he scored 11 straight for the Greyhounds as he connected on a fade-away jumper followed by three straight three-pointers. Loyola held a 41-39 advantage at the break.
"I was just letting it fly," Sullivan said of his streaky effort. "I was feeling really good tonight and Gerald really couldn't get his shot off tonight, so I knew I had to get off mine." The junior guard finished making nine of 11 from the floor, including seven of eight from three-point range. The seven three-pointers marks a career-high and ties for the second-best effort in Greyhounds history. Andre Collins connected on nine three-pointers against Marist on January 8, 2006.
Isreal scored all nine of his second-half points during the first five minutes following the intermission as the Greyhounds tried to shake off the pesky Catamounts. Tied 65-65 with nine minutes remaining, Loyola scored 11 of the next 15 points to grab a 76-69 lead on a Harvey three-pointer with four minutes left. The Greyhounds missed the front end of a one-and-one and then converted just one of two on another trip to the line as Vermont scored six of nine to set up the final sequence.
Vermont's Marcus Blakely led all scorers with 30 points, making 12 of 21 from the field. He added five blocks. Trimboli (14) and McIntosh (13) also scored in double figures for the Catamounts who made a perfect 16 for 16 from the free-throw line.
Sullivan and Isreal combined to make 17 of 20 shots from the floor for Loyola as Isreal missed just one of his nine shots. Senior forward Michael Tuck chipped with 15 points and tied for game-high honors with six rebounds. Harvey finished with 13, making all three of his three-point attempts, while handing out four assists with no turnovers. Freshman guard Brian Rudolph collected a career-best seven assists.
The game featured college roommates coaching against each other for the first time. Loyola's Patsos and Vermont head coach Mike Lonergan were teammates and roommates at Catholic in the late 1980s. The two friends had never been on opposite sidelines before tonight.
The Greyhounds return to action Tuesday when they visit Seton Hall in the second game of a commitment to the Philly Hoop Group Classic. Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m.