Men's Basketball Holds Off Florida Gulf Coast Rally

Nov. 27, 2011

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BALTIMORE - Anthony Winbush made a pair of free throws with 11.1 seconds remaining, and Robert Olson blocked a Florida Gulf Coast University 3-point attempt with six ticks left in regulation, sealing a 77-74 Loyola University Maryland victory in non-conference action on Sunday afternoon at Reitz Arena.

The Eagles (2-4 overall) cut Loyola's one-time 16-point lead to just a point when Bernard Thompson hit a three from the top of the perimeter with 13.4 seconds on the clock. Winbush was fouled on the in-bound play, and he converted both from the line to give the Greyhounds (4-1) a 3-point advantage.

Erik Etherly led four Loyola players in double-figures with 15 points, while Dylon Cormier had 14. Olson added 13, a season-high, and Shane Walker tallied 10. The Greyhounds also had a season-high 18 assists.

Thompson and Christophe Varidel led all scorers with 17 points each for the Eagles.

"They are a good, well coached team, and they did a good job of hitting shots and getting back in the game," Loyola Head Coach Jimmy Patsos said. "(Winbush) made two big free throws, and Bobby came up with the block.

"I thought Bobby did a great job of coming out and playing hard today. He had almost 10 days off after not playing at New Hampshire (last Sunday) after getting hurt against UMBC. He was fresh and didn't let the layoff bother him."

Trailing 16-15 after Christophe Varidel made a three for Florida Gulf Coast with 8:08 to go in the first half, Olson was fouled with 7:50 to go before the break and made 1-of-2 from the free-throw line.

After the teams traded turnovers, Olson drained a three from the top-left of the perimeter to put Loyola ahead, 19-16, with 6:24 on the clock.

The Greyhounds stopped Florida Gulf Coast on the Eagles' next possession, and Olson drilled a shot from the same spot the next time down the court.

His seven points spurred a 22-5 Loyola run that would cover six minutes, 39 seconds and see the Greyhounds go up by 16 on a Cormier fast-break layup with 1:11 to go in the half. Olson also hit another three during the stretch, scoring all 10 of his first-half points in a span of just over three minutes.

The Eagles came out of the locker room quickly, scoring 16 of the second half's first 23 points to cut their deficit to four, 44-40, on a running Thompson jumper with 14:12 to play.

Coming out of a Patsos-called timeout, Winbush and Cormier grabbed offensive rebounds and scored on consecutive trips down the court, and Winbush made the back-end of two from the free-throw line to push the Greyhounds' advantage back to nine, 49-40, at the 12:18 mark.

Florida Gulf Coast pulled back within six on a Varidel three just five seconds later, but Loyola went up by double-figures three times after that, first on a Cormier jumper on a baseline out-of-bounds play, next on an Etherly alley-oop from Walker and finally on two Walker free throws.

R.J. Williams made two free throws with 5:09 left in regulation for Loyola, making the Greyhounds' lead, 62-53, but the Eagles scored seven of the next nine points, making it 64-60 on a Varidel three with 3:19 on the clock.

Another Etherly dunk and two Walker free throws, wrapped around a Chase Fieler free throw for Florida Gulf Coast made it 68-61 Loyola with 2:31 in regulartion, but Thompson sank a three with the shot-clock expiring to cut it to four with 1:55 left.

Two Olson free throws made it 71-64 Loyola with 1:23 on the clock, and after Fieler scored on a screen-and-roll, Cormier made 1-of-2 for a six-point Loyola lead with 55 ticks left.

Fieler hit a three off an inbounds play to cut the Greyhounds' lead to three. Cormier and Olson were only able to make 1-of-2 from the line on two Loyola possessions, and Fieler dunked off an offensive rebound with 20.9 left to make it a 3-point game again.

Williams converted 1-of-2 from the line a second later, and Thompson canned another three to make it a one-point game before Winbush's free throws.

The win pushed Loyola's record to 4-1, its best start through five games since the 2005-06 squad won its first five games before suffering a loss.

The Greyhounds recorded a season-high 18 assists, led by Etherly's career-best four.

Loyola opens Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. when Marist comes to Reitz Arena.