Dec. 2, 2010
BALTIMORE - Jeron Belin scored seven points during a 9-2 Saint Peter's College run midway through the second half, and the Peacocks held off a late Loyola University Maryland rally for a 55-52 victory in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener for both teams in Reitz Arena on Thursday night.
Belin finished with a game-high 16 points, while Dylon Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons) led the Greyhounds (3-3 overall, 0-1 MAAC) with 11 points. Jamal Barney (Southwestern) added nine points and six rebounds for Loyola.
Two Brian Rudolph free throws with 13:12 to play in the second frame pulled Loyola within three, 36-33, and Cormier made two more from the stripe at 11:57 after being fouled 30 feet from the basket to make it a one-point Saint Peter's lead.
The Peacocks (3-4, 1-0), however, scored nine of the next 11 points to go up 45-37 with just over seven minutes left on a Belin jumper. Darius Conley started the run for Saint Peter's with a layup, but Belin scored the next seven points for the Peacocks.
Robert Olson made a pair from the free throw line at 6:44 to pull Loyola back within six, 45-39, but Ryan Bacon took a pass from Belin in transition for a layup to make it an eight-point game again.
The teams traded baskets for three minutes before Olson hit a 3-pointer from the left wing in transition with 3:42 on the clock, making it a 51-46 Saint Peter's lead.
After a Loyola 30-second timeout following Olson's three, Saint Peter's wound the shot clock down to two before Nick Leon fired a 24-footer that went off the back of the iron. The ball caromed directly to Conley in the lane, however, and he laid it in to put the Peacocks back up seven, 53-46.
Erik Etherly made 1-of-2 from the line for Loyola, and Bacon hit two on the Saint Peter's end. Despite an eight-point deficit with 2:07 to play, the Greyhounds were not done.
Shane Walker drained an open three from the right side, and after a defensive stop, Rudolph made an off-balance to cut the Peacocks' advantage to 55-52 with 54.9 seconds remaining.
A long outlet pass by Saint Peter's on the ensuing inbounds play went off the hands of Belin and out of bounds, and Loyola had the ball. Rudolph had another look on the left side of the lane, but this one went off the rim and into the hands of Wesley Jenkins for Saint Peter's.
Jenkins was fouled, but he missed the front end of 1-and-1, and the ball went out of bounds again to the Greyhounds.
With the shot clock off, Loyola ran a half-court set and got a three from the top of the perimeter by Barney. It went long, but Walker corralled the rebound, and Loyola called timeout with 9.7 ticks left. Cormier missed a 3-pointer from the right side, and Saint Peter's pulled down the rebound and ran out the clock.
Defense paced the first half until late when both teams picked up their shooting. Neither team shot better than 37-percent from the field, however, in the opening 20 minutes. Saint Peter's made 4-of-6 from the line - Loyola did not attempt a free throw - and made one more 3-pointer for a five-point advantage at the break.
Saint Peter's led 6-0 after a trio of free throws and a Wesley Jenkins 3-pointer from the left side, but Loyola scored the next seven points to take its first lead of the game on a Rudolph 19-footer with the shot clock expiring.
The Peacocks took the lead back on a Belin putback, and they then extended their advantage to 20-11 on a 18-foot jumper by Nick Leon with just over six minutes to play. A Barney three in front of the Saint Peter's bench stemmed the Peacocks run with Loyola's first points since the 9:48 mark, a stretch of more than five minutes.
A Cormier fast-break layup off an Olson assist cut Saint Peter's lead to four, 20-16, but five in a row by the Peacocks, capped by a Jenkins three, pushed it to nine.
Cormier scored five in a row on his own, get a second-chance bucket and knocking down a three from the right wing off a baseline out-of-bounds play with 54 ticks left before the break to cut the Peacocks' lead to 25-21.
Steven Samuels, however, made a three from the top of the perimeter on Saint Peter's final first-half possession to put the lead back to seven. Cormier got an offensive rebounds and put it back in for Loyola, pulling the Greyhounds within five, 28-23, at the break. Cormier and Belin led all players with nine in the first half.