Nov. 23, 2007
Philadelphia, Pa. - Senior guard Gerald Brown tied his career high with 33 points to lead Loyola to a 73-58 win over Howard Friday afternoon in the fabled Palestra to advance to the Philly Hoop Group Classic Liberty Bracket championship game. The Greyhounds (4-2) will play Drexel University which defeated Robert Morris in the second half of the doubleheader.
"Gerald Brown proved why he is a good leader because he knows how to win games," fourth-year head coach Jimmy Patsos said about his senior leader. "This was an ugly game and Gerald just carried us when we needed it. It's a real honor to get my first win at the Palestra as a head coach."
Brown split his points evenly between halves, scoring 16 prior to the intermission to help Loyola grab a 36-25 advantage. Neither team scored in the first two minutes and the Greyhounds ended the half on a 10-2 run for their largest lead of the game with senior forward Omari Isreal scoring the final five points for Loyola. Isreal finished with 11 points in the half, his only points in the game.
The Greyhounds gradually built a 17-point lead six minutes into the second half on a three-point shot from junior guard Marquis Sullivan to make the score 48-31. The Bison (2-3) closed within nine twice inside the final 3:17, but Brown scored Loyola's final eight points to close out the game. In scoring 30 or more for the seventh career time, Brown made 13 of 14 free throws, the third time in six games that he has gone to the free-throw line 10 or more times. He tied his career high in scoring previously set during a week in January 2007 in wins over Marist and Siena.
"Omari Isreal has proven to be one of our leaders and he played like a leader today," Patsos praised. "I thought our freshmen really came in and gave us some good minutes - Brian Rudolph, Tony Lewis and Isaac Reid. We're trying to build our program to win for the next three years and those guys are going to play. Tony Lewis is going to be taking people's minutes; I am very excited for him."
Lewis, who sat out last season as a medical redshirt, came off the bench to make all four of his shots from the floor and his only free throw for his first career points. He also grabbed three rebounds in 12 minutes. Reid scored four points and grabbed three boards in 16 minutes and Rudolph had two points with three rebounds and two steals in 25 minutes.
"We started kind of slow and my role is to give us some energy," Lewis stated after the game. "I've been listening to the coaches and Jimmy always says to expect every shot to be missed. That's where I got a lot of my points - getting rebounds for easy shots."
The win came in the program's first-ever appearance in the fabled Palestra, despite almost 100 years of Greyhounds basketball. Loyola has won two of its three games as part of the commitment to the event after beating Pennsylvania at home and dropping a decision at Seton Hall earlier in the week.