Dec. 1, 2011
BALTIMORE - Robert Olson scored five points during a 9-0 Loyola University Maryland run midway through the second half, changing a 48-47 Marist College lead to a 56-48 Greyhounds advantage, and Loyola defeated the Red Foxes, 76-63, in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener for both teams Thursday night in Reitz Arena.
The Greyhounds (5-1 overall, 1-0 MAAC) snapped a five-game losing streak in MAAC openers and improved to 5-1 for the first time since the 2005-2006 season, also the last time they won their first conference game of the year.
After Loyola took the lead with the 9-0 run, Marist twice trimmed the Greyhounds' advantage to four, the final time coming on a Manny Thomas three from the right corner at 6:03.
Following Thomas' three, Olson knocked down a three at 4:32, sparking another Loyola run, this one going 15-3 and covering almost 4:16.
Shane Walker created a turnover on Marist's offensive end, and R.J. Williams fed Erik Etherly for a fast-break dunk, and after Thomas hit another three for the Red Foxes, Shane Walker made two free throws for the Greyhounds.
Dylon Cormier came up with another steal for Loyola, and this time Walker knocked down a three from the top of the perimeter, giving Loyola an 11-point lead with 2:52 remaining, the first double-digit advantage of the night for either team.
Marist (2-4, 0-1) missed a three on its offensive end, and Etherly dunked again in transition for the Greyhounds. Loyola then forced another Marist turnover, its third in five possessions, and Cormier pulled down offensive rebounds after two missed shots, converting the second into a layup for a 15-point lead with 1:46 on the clock.
Cormier then made 1-of-2 from the free-throw line with 16 ticks left, making it a 76-60 Loyola lead before a Lewis three with 11 seconds to go created the final outcome.
"This is the first time we're 1-0 in the MAAC since 2005, and I thought the crowd really helped us with that," Head Coach Jimmy Patsos said of the spirited student section and crowd. "The MAAC Is a good conference, and night in, night out, it will be a battle."
The lead was tied seven times, and the game saw 16 lead changes in the first 28-plus minutes of play before Olson knocked down a jumper after a Williams steal and assist with 11:16 to play.
Loyola had nine assists to that point in the game, but starting with Williams' helper, the Greyhounds had six over the final minutes as they retook and held the lead.
"We are an unselfish team," Patsos said. "Players like Justin (Drummond) have to take shots, and we know that, but he also had some big assists down the stretch. I want to keep us an unselfish team like we were at the end."
Williams led all players with a career-high six assists, and he added eight points, matching his career-best. Olson recorded four assists and 11 points.
Cormier led five Greyhounds in double-figures with 15 points, while Etherly had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Drummond scored 14 and had seven rebounds off the bench, while Walker finished with 11 points.
Lewis tallied a game-high 16 for Marist, and Devin Price added 11.
Loyola plays its first MAAC road game of the season on Saturday night when it takes on Siena College at the Times-Union Center in Albany, N.Y., at 7 p.m.