THE GAME: Canisius is on a modest two-game winning streak while the Greyhounds dropped a pair of games earlier this week at ACC opponents. Both teams are winless in conference play through two games, each having dropped their December games last month.
THE COACHES: Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos enters his fifth season and has registered a 62-71 (.466) career record. The 1989 Catholic graduate is 7-2 against the Golden Griffins. Canisius head coach Tom Parrotta is in his third season with the Golden Griffins and sports a 23-51 (.311) career record. The 1991 Fordham graduate is 0-4 against the Greyhounds.
THE TEAMS: Outside of conference opponents, there are no teams that appear on the schedules of both these schedules. Within league play, neither team has faced a similar team thus far.
THE SERIES: Canisius leads the series, 29-18, although Loyola is on its best stretch in the history of the series with four straight victories. Included in that run are six straight regular-season wins.
THE PROGRAM: Loyola is playing its 99th recorded season of basketball this season. The first season was 1908-1909 and this year the College is celebrating the 100th anniversary of that first season. The Greyhounds have posted a 1118-1153 (.492) all-time record during that time.
LAST TIME OUT: No. 5 Duke scored the first eight points of the game and raced out to an 18-5 lead six minutes into the game and were never headed in a 92-51 non-conference win over the Greyhounds Wednesday afternoon. It was the Blue Devils' 66th straight home non-conference win. Sophomore guard Brian Rudolph was the only Loyola player to reach double figures with 13 points. Sophomore guard Jamal Barney grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and recorded a team-best three steals.
GOOD BYE 2008: The Greyhounds concluded 2008 on Wednesday at Duke, finishing the calendar year with 19 victories which was one more than 2007. The 19 wins were the most since the Greyhounds won that many in 1985, winning 13 to conclude the 1984-1985 season and six to open the 1985-1986 campaign. The last time the Greyhounds won 20 or more games in a calendar year was 1971 when it won 17 games and the Mason-Dixon Conference tournament to cap a 19-7 season in 1970-1971 and opened the following year with four victories for 21 triumphs during the year.
AND HELLO 2009: January has been very kind to the Greyhounds the last few seasons. To open 2006, Loyola won three of its first four. The 2007 year began with four straight wins and victories in six of the first seven. And 2008 started with the Greyhounds tasting victory in eight of 11. Time will tell how the start of 2009 treats Loyola.
BARNEY POURING IN THE POINTS: After not having played in almost two years following his departure from Providence and sitting out his NCAA-mandated transfer season, sophomore guard Jamal Barney has been on a scoring tear of late. After scoring just 66 points in his first six games, he has poured in 120 points in the seven since, including four efforts of 20 or more. Not forgotten has been his rebounding in his last six outings, grabbing 44 boards for an average of 7.3 per game. Three times in the last seven games he has made better than 50 percent from the floor and he has made six or more field goals in each of those games. Since he moved into the starting lineup nine games ago, he has reached double figures in seven of the nine while leading the team in scoring four of those times. Over that nine-game stretch, he is averaging 16.3 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 44.1 percent (60-136) from the field and 77.8 percent (21-27) from the free-throw line.
SULLIVAN REACHES 1,000: Senior guard Marquis Sullivan was honored prior to the December 10 game for scoring the 1,000th point of his career. The 29th player to do so, he tallied the historic basket on a three-pointer with 4:33 remaining in the first half at Davidson, one of four three-pointers he scored in the game while leading the team with 16 points. After being held scoreless in the win over Coppin State, he bounced back with a season-high 20 points in just 22 minutes at UC Davis and then scored 21 points in 20 minutes Monday at North Carolina State. He made four or more three-pointers for the fourth time in nine games this season, shooting 50 percent or better from long range in each of those outings. His appearance at UC Davis made him the 37th player in Greyhounds basketball history to play in more than 100 games in a career.
RUDOLPH LENDS HELPING HAND: Out of the starting lineup for the first time since early January of last year, sophomore guard Brian Rudolph responded with his best performance of the season against Coppin State, handing out nine assists without a turnover and adding two steals. The assist total was just one off his career high of 10. He had his two front teeth knocked out while diving for a loose ball in the game and committed just one turnover over three games, handing out five helpers with no turnovers at UC Davis and six assists with just one turnover Monday at North Carolina State. Mired in a shooting slump since scoring 11 points twice in the first three games, he is averaging 5.0 assists through the 13 games this season.
LEWIS MAKES HIS RETURN: Sophomore guard Tony Lewis made his return to the lineup at UC Davis and scored eight points with a steal in 18 minutes played. He had played sparingly in a pair of games immediately following and then did not dress for four games after exploding for a career-high 23 points and eight rebounds against Cornell.
HARVEY GIVING TEAM WHAT IT NEEDS: After not making a field goal in two games, junior guard Brett Harvey has scored in double figures in four of six games since, including 27 points against Niagara. While others have taken the scoring burden of late, he has contributed other ways, including a season-best seven assists at UC Davis. Whatever the team has needed, his free-throw shooting has remained consistent, ranking ninth nationally in the latest NCAA numbers through December 22. Four times this season he has made nine or more foul shots in a game and his 13-for-13 performance against Niagara equaled the second-best performance in school history. He has made 37 consecutive free throws entering tonight.
WINBUSH LENDS SUPPORT: Keen observers have noticed the impact that freshman forward Anthony Winbush has made since moving into the starting lineup seven games ago. After playing just 34 minutes in the season's first four games, he hasn't played less than 22 in any of the seven that followed, including a career-high 36 Monday night at North Carolina State. His impact was never felt more than in the deciding moments of the Coppin State game. His steal off the press and hand off to junior guard Brett Harvey in three-point range for a successful basket game Loyola its first lead of the second half with 4:21 to go, his alley-oop dunk 3:09 left pushed the lead to five, another alley-oop dunk with 84 seconds remaining snapped a 67-all tie, he found sophomore guard Jamal Barney open under the basket for what resulted in the game-winning free throws with 46 ticks left and finally he rebounded a missed Eagles shot with 22 seconds left and got the ball to Harvey who was fouled and sank the game-clinching free throws. He scored seven points before fouling out at UC Davis while contributing stellar defense against the taller Aggies and followed that with a team-high seven rebounds and more defense against the Wolfpack.
WIEGAND EARNS STARTS: A freshman walk-on, center Josh Wiegand earned a start in the second half of the Niagara game and has been in the starting lineup for the three games since. Against the Purple Eagles, he made all three of his shots from the field for six points and added five rebounds, including four off the offensive glass. His next outing resulted in two points, four rebounds, a steal and a block.
HALL TALLIES DOUBLE DIGITS AGAIN: Freshman guard J'hared Hall matched his career-high against Coppin State, scoring 11 points in a career-best 17 minutes. Seven of his points came in the second half and his only three-pointer of the game cut what was a 20-point Greyhounds deficit to nine with 14:32 remaining. He first tallied 11 at Vermont, scoring the three-point basket that brought Loyola all the way back from a 13-point first-half deficit to tie the game with 12:35 left.
WRIGHT PUTS UP THE BLOCKS: Junior forward Jawaan Wright has already collected 17 blocked shots through his 10 games, including five at Vermont. He leads the team in field-goal percentage (.609) and is fourth in rebounding (3.5 rpg). He has cracked the Top 15 in Loyola's career blocked shots list, recording 37 in two-plus seasons thus far to rank 14th.
NEXT TIME OUT: A five-game road swing concludes Monday night when the Greyhounds visit Niagara for a 7 o'clock start. Loyola will play home Friday for the first time since December 10 when it hosts Fairfield in another MAAC game. Start time is 7 o'clock.