Dec. 8, 2006
Baltimore, Md. - A poor night shooting coupled by a tenacious defensive effort by Saint Peter's spelled doom for the Loyola men's basketball team Friday night in dropping a 66-55 decision to the Peacocks at Reitz Arena in the conference opener for both teams. The win snapped a four-game Saint Peter's (3-5, 1-0) losing skein while the loss ended a modest two-game winning streak for the Greyhounds (4-3, 0-1).
"Saint Peter's is good," Greyhounds third-year coach Jimmy Patsos commented after the game. "I told our team all week that we would have to rebound the basketball. They shoot a lot of threes so you have to limit them to one shot and we didn't do that tonight."
After Loyola jumped out to a 7-2 lead, the Peacocks went on a 25-8 run capped by an 11-0 stretch over four minutes in the first half to take a 27-15 lead with 4:34 remaining before intermission and were never headed. Saint Peter's used a balanced scoring attack and held the Greyhounds to 28.6 percent shooting (8-28) to take a 33-20 advantage at the half. The Peacocks meanwhile made 52.2 percent of their shots (12-23).
Loyola attempted to change its fortunes early in the second half as it ran off 13 straight points to close within 38-37 with 16 minutes remaining as junior guard Gerald Brown scored seven and junior forward Michael Tuck scored the other six. With the score 41-40, the Peacocks grabbed four consecutive offensive rebounds on one possession resulting in a Michael Gore lay-up to put Saint Peter's up three and then Raul Orta sunk a three-pointer following a Greyhounds turnover to go up six at 46-40 with 10:52 remaining and Loyola could get no closer than five the rest of the game.
"When we've played with emotion, we've won. When we haven't, you see what happened," Patsos lamented. "Three of their starters that started tonight started in the championship game last year. That's experience and we don't have it right now."
Brown finished the game with 25 points, 20 of those coming after the intermission. Tuck was the only other Loyola player in double digits with 12 and he collected a career-high five steals. Junior center Hassan Fofana led the team in rebounding, tying a season-high with eight.
For Saint Peter's, Orta finished with 19 points, Kevin Spann scored 16 and Todd Sowell added 13. Tim Spitler grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, six of those off the offensive glass. The Peacocks held a 42-36 advantage on the boards and finished the game shooting 42.6 percent (20-47).
Loyola returns to action Sunday when it travels to Manhattan in another Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game. Game time at Draddy Gymnasium is 2 o'clock.