LOYOLA-FAIRFIELD SERIES HISTORY: Fairfield leads the series, 32-14. The Stags swept the series last year after Loyola won the final two matchups of 2007-2008, including a 64-59 victory in the 2008 MAAC Tournament Quarterfinals. The Greyhounds have won three of the last five games played between the teams in the Arena at Harbor Yard, including a 76-72 triumph in the 2007 MAAC Tournament Quarterfinals.
LAST TIME OUT: Siena's Clarence Jackson scored a game-high 24 points with seven steals and Edwin Ubiles added 22 points to lead the Saints to a 76-56 victory Monday night, ending Loyola's four-game winning streak. The Greyhounds played without leading scorer Brett Harvey and were led in scoring by junior guard Jamal Barney's 15 points, his ninth consecutive game in double figures. He also matched his career-high with six assists and added four rebounds and three steals.
CONTINUING JANUARY SUCCESS: The home win Saturday over Rider continued a trend for the Greyhounds during the year's first month. For the fourth time in five seasons, Loyola won its first conference game in January. Despite Monday's loss to Siena, the Greyhounds own a 23-9 (.719) in January over the last four seasons. In each of the last two seasons Loyola has pieced together six-game winning streaks running through January and in 2006-2007 the Greyhounds won six straight conference contests in January.
STARTING STRONG: It is said: it is not how one starts, it is how one finishes. Well, during Loyola's recent four-game winning streak, strong starts were a key to the success. During the four contests, the Greyhounds held their opponents to an average of 24.5 first-half points while scoring 46 points twice and averaging 48.6 percent (53-109) from the field, including 62.1 percent (18-29) from three-point range. Loyola built a 29-6 lead against Howard, opened the game with 15 straight points and led 29-7 at Indiana, outscored Bucknell 20-8 over the game's first 16 minutes and put together a 37-17 lead Saturday against Rider.
COLLECTING HOME WINS: One of the things head coach Jimmy Patsos has preached about since his arrival six seasons ago was the value of having a home court advantage and winning on that home court. He has certainly back that up. Loyola is 41-27 (.603) under Patsos' leadership in Reitz Arena. The home win last month over Howard increased its mark in non-conference home games to 16-5 (.762). Take away his 6-22 first season, and he is 36-19 (.655) in Reitz Arena overall and has won 15 of 17 non-league games (.882) at home.
WINNING THE MONTH: A lot of coaches talk to their teams about winning the four-minute segments that take place during a basketball game, the theory being that winning enough of those will win the game. A parallel can be drawn to winning months of games to have a winning season. Through the first two months of the season, Loyola has a winning record in each, posting a 3-2 mark in November and a 4-3 record in December. That's the first consecutive winning months for the Greyhounds since going 7-3 in January 2008 and 6-2 in February 2008 en route to a school Division I-record 19 wins that season. Loyola has not recorded three straight months with a winning record since doing so between December 1978 and February 1979. The Greyhounds finished 17-11 that season.
HARVEY DOES NOT DRESS: For the first time in his career, senior guard Brett Harvey did not dress for a game when he did not suit up Monday against Siena. Not playing snapped a string of 109 straight appearances for Loyola's leading scorer. He was named the MAAC Co-Player of the Week after his heroics in the win at Indiana when he scored nine straight points during Loyola's 10-2 run to end the game and erase a three-point deficit. Saturday in the win over Rider, he poured in 15 points in the first 13 minutes of the game and then tallied his final six points during a three-minute span in which the Greyhounds answered a 15-0 run by scoring eight straight and 10 of 12 to return the lead in Loyola's favor. He reached 1,000 career points last month during a season-high 28-point effort at Canisius, became the 38th player in history to play in 100 career games at Mount St. Mary's in November and became the seventh player to surpass 350 career assists at Indiana.
WINBUSH DOING IT ON BOTH ENDS: Sophomore forward Anthony Winbush helped the Greyhounds to wins in the last three outings of the four-game winning streak with significant contributions on both ends of the floor. In the win at Indiana, he held Hoosiers' leading scorer Maurice Creek to half his season average (nine) and forced him into four turnovers. Winbush collected six steals to equal the fifth-best single-game number in history and connected on both his three-point tries to finish with eight points. Then, at Bucknell, he matched his career high with 17 points, making six of his nine shots from the floor, including both his three-point tries, and all three of his foul shots. His contribution Saturday against Rider was two-fold, scoring 12 points while grabbing seven defensive rebounds and holding MAAC Preseason Player of the Year Ryan Thompson to one-for-10 field-goal shooting.
BARNEY PROVIDING BENCH PUNCH: In the 12 games that junior guard Jamal Barney has come off the bench, Loyola has outscored its opponent's bench 11 times with Barney being the leading bench scorer in nine of those 12 games. He is on a run of nine straight games in which he has tallied double figures, averaging 15.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per outing. He was honored as the MAAC Player of the Week on December 21 following his 28-point performance off the bench in the win over Howard, the third such recognition of his career. Saturday, he scored 11 points in the win over Rider, including two crucial driving layups, while grabbing five rebounds and adding a season-high five assists. He bettered those numbers against Siena, scoring a team-high 15 points and matching his career best with six assists.
WALKER POSTS FIRST CAREER DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Sophomore forward Shane Walker recorded the first double-double of his career in the win at Dartmouth, matching his career-high with 14 points and grabbing a career-best 11 rebounds. Third on the team in scoring (8.1 ppg), he is the team's leading rebounder at 6.6 boards per game. He scored 10 points with six rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots in the win over Rider.
LEWIS PROVIDES BENCH SPARK: The biggest asset in the game of senior guard Tony Lewis has been his energy and hustle off the bench and that was showcased during the four-game winning streak. In the victory over Howard, he scored 14 points in 14 minutes, shooting 85.7 percent (6-7) to match the 15th-best single-game performance in history. He made all four of his attempts in the 2007 win over the Bison, meaning for his career in two wins over Howard he shot 10-11 from the floor with 23 points. He played just nine minutes at Indiana, but scored six points with two rebounds and a steal, his second-half layup being Loyola's only basket during an 18-2 Hoosiers run. Monday against Siena, he scored just four points but grabbed five rebounds and handed out three assists.
CRAZY EIGHTS FOR BROOKS: Freshman forward Julius Brooks matched his career high of eight points for the fourth time Monday against Siena. He only missed one shot from the field and handed out two assists. His previous eight-point outings all came on the road. He first did it at West Virginia in his second career game, ended November with eight at Dartmouth and tallied eight last month in the win at Indiana, scoring all his points in the first half while taking just the four shots. He has started all 13 of his appearances, missing the game at Niagara with an illness, and is fourth on the team in rebounding with 4.2 boards per game.
OLSON'S A THIEF: One of the most eye-popping numbers coming out of the win at UMBC was the six steals recorded by freshman guard Robert Olson. The number tied for fifth all-time in Loyola history and was matched by the six pilfers by sophomore forward Anthony Winbush at Indiana. Olson also showed a shooting touch in the game, making a pair of first-half three-pointers, the first ones of his career. He is shooting 47.8 percent (11-23) from three-point range for the season and matched his career-high of eight points in Saturday's win over Rider, first established at UMBC.
KELLY EARNS START: With leading scorer Brett Harvey unable to play Monday against Siena, senior forward Garrett Kelly got the call to start in his place. It was the first career start for Kelly, a two-year walk-on who earned a scholarship for his senior year. He entered the game having played just 61 minutes in 28 games over two-plus seasons and had nine "DNP-CD" for the year, including the last three games.
WANDRUSCH ADDED TO ROSTER: After joining the program as a manager in the fall, freshman guard Luke Wandrusch has been added to the active roster as a walk-on. He dressed for the first time at Bucknell and saw the first game action of his career Monday night against Siena, playing one minute without recording a statistic.
STARTING LINEUP: Last year, every Greyhounds player on the roster with the exception of walk-on Garrett Kelly made at least one start during the season, meaning 12 of the 13 eligible players opened the game on the floor. This year just four lineups have been tested out with three newcomers - sophomore forward Shane Walker and freshmen Julius Brooks and Robert Olson - among the starting five 12 times.
THE DEFENSE DOESN'T REST, PART ONE: For the second time this season, the Greyhounds held an opponent to under 50 points after the 55-49 win at Bucknell. The last time Loyola turned that trick was the 1991-1992 season, both times coming at home. The Greyhounds have not held a pair of road opponents to less than 50 points in the same season since allowing 46 points at both Baltimore and Pitt-Johnstown in the 1979-1980 campaign. The 41 points allowed at Dartmouth was the first time in seven years that an opponent was held under 50 points and was the lowest point total in 26 seasons.
BIGGEST WIN EVER?: The win at Indiana has sparked discussion on its place among Loyola's wins during its 100-year history. Certainly, it is the biggest regular-season win since the program elevated to Division I in 1981-1982. It was the Greyhounds' first win over a Big Ten member in eight tries and first-ever victory over a team with multiple National Championships, having lost 10 straight to teams with that pedigree. Head coach Jimmy Patsos has made a commitment to a scheduling philosophy that experiences college basketball's history and Assembly Hall is the fourth building in the last four years in which more than one National Championship banner hangs that the Greyhounds have played. A verbal agreement has been reached to play at North Carolina next season to make it five years in a row.
FINDING THE SHOOTING TOUCH: Through nine games, Loyola was shooting just 39.5 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three-point range. Following the 10-day break for final exams, the Greyhounds reversed those numbers. Loyola shot a blistering 81.5 percent (22-27) in the second half of its win over Howard, finishing at 69.6 percent (32-46) for the second-best performance in school history. It made its first six three-point tries and ended at 75.0 percent (9-12) for the game, also the second-best effort in school annals. The Greyhounds shot 58.6 percent (17-29) in the first half at Indiana and finished at 53.3 percent (24-45) against the defensive-minded Hoosiers. It was the first time Loyola connected on better than 50 percent in consecutive wins since triumphs at Siena and at home against Niagara in January 2007. For the two games, the Greyhounds shot 61.5 percent (56-91), including 60.7 percent (17-28) from three-point range.
RECORD SHOOTING LEADS TO RECORD WIN: When the shooting is clicking along with solid defense, a team can build a comfortable margin of victory. That was the case in the win over Howard as Loyola's 34-point score differential is its largest over a Division I opponent since elevating the program full-time to Division I in 1981-82. The Greyhounds had previously beaten non-Division I opponents by larger margins in their history.
BLOCKING IT OUT: One of Loyola's weaknesses last season was the consistency of its front line. That has been improved dramatically with additions to the roster and is being proven through block shot totals that have been recorded thus far. Sophomore forward Shane Walker leads the team with 19 blocks through 14 games and three other players have eight or more. Both Walker and senior forward Jawaan Wright collected four blocks at Coppin State. The Greyhounds recorded eight blocks in the season-opening win over Vermont, which tied for ninth best all-time at the time, and blocked nine shots at Coppin State, equaling the third-best single-game effort in history. The school record of 10 has been reached twice.
THE DEFENSE DOESN'T REST, PART TWO: Having averaged 90.3 points over a three-game road trip that included a nine-point loss at No. 22 Louisville and a 97-94 win at Arkansas, Morgan State was held to 27.8 percent (10-36) first-half shooting and shot just 32.8 percent (20-61) for the game by the Loyola defense in the Greyhounds' 78-66 victory. The Bears were held to 14.5 points below their season average as Loyola toppled the MEAC's defending tournament champion at home for the second straight year. The Greyhounds recorded a 73-70 win over Coppin State in 2008-2009.
TURNING 100: Loyola men's basketball turns 100 this season as it competes in its 100th recorded season. The first season was 1908-1909 and last year was the celebration of the 100th anniversary of that first season. This season is the 100th with two seasons being lost to World War I (1917-1918 and 1918-1919). The Greyhounds enter tonight with a record of 1134-1170 (.492) all-time.
WE ARE LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MARYLAND: On September 25, the institution officially changed its designation to Loyola University Maryland. The first college in the United States to bear the name of Saint Ignatius Loyola, the change reflects the University's commitment toward becoming the nation's leading Catholic, comprehensive university. So, please, when referring to us, we are "Loyola University Maryland".
BARNEY RECEIVES SECOND-TEAM NOD: The MAAC coaches selected junior guard Jamal Barney to a spot on the Preseason All-MAAC Second Team, the only Loyola player to receive preseason recognition. The leading scorer in the league last year at 18.1 points, Barney was All-MAAC Second Team following his first season in a Greyhounds uniform.
GREYHOUNDS PICKED FIFTH BY COACHES: Loyola was tabbed for fifth in MAAC preseason balloting by the league's coaches announced in October. Two-time defending champion Siena was selected first followed by Niagara. Rider, which received the only first-place vote that didn't go to the Saints, was picked third and Fairfield fourth. The Greyhounds received the same point total as Saint Peter's for a tie for fifth.
LONG-TIME AD BOYLAN TO RETIRE: After guiding Greyhounds athletics for nearly two decades, Athletic Director Joe Boylan announced his retirement in October, effective June 30, 2010. An associate men's basketball head coach to Tom Young at Rutgers for 12 seasons that included a Final Four berth in 1976 prior to becoming an administrator, Boylan has been the driving force behind Loyola's athletic growth since his arrival. The Greyhounds have captured 56 MAAC titles and counting during his tenure.
GREYHOUNDS ADD TWO FOR NEXT SEASON: The Men's Basketball program added two players to the roster during the early signing period. Justin Drummond, a 6-4 guard from Washington, D.C. who is playing at Riverdale Baptist HS, and Dylon Cormier, a 6-1 guard from Baltimore who plays at Cardinal Gibbons HS, each signed National Letters of Intent and will enroll in Loyola next fall. The pair will square off against each other at Cardinal Gibbons on January 19.
GREYHOUNDS ON THE TUBE: A minimum of seven Loyola contests will receive national or regional television exposure this season and that number could swell to as many as 11. The Greyhounds' next televised contest after tonight is in one week when Loyola hosts Marist in Reitz Arena at 7 o'clock on ESPNU.
ESPN RADIO 1300 HOME TO GREYHOUNDS AGAIN: For the third consecutive season, Baltimore's ESPN Radio 1300 will be the home for select Loyola radio games. All home games not picked up by ESPN Radio 1300 will be live streamed on www.LoyolaGreyhounds.com. Mark Zinno (play-by-play) is joined by analysts Gary Lambrecht and Jim Chivers. The next broadcast on ESPN Radio 1300 is one week from tonight when the Greyhounds host Marist at 7 o'clock.
GREYHOUNDS ALL-ACCESS: Once again this season, any home game not selected for television will be made available on live video streaming through Greyhounds All Access. The next offering will be Monday when Loyola hosts Iona at 7 o'clock. Games can be accessed via www.LoyolaGreyhounds.com.
FOLLOW LOYOLA ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER: Loyola Athletics launched new Facebook and Twitter sites with the advent of the new school year. Now Greyhounds followers can get immediate news via Facebook.com/LoyolaHounds and Twitter.com/LoyolaHounds.
JESUIT BASKETBALL SPOTLIGHT: Tonight's game is the second of Loyola's appearances as part of the Jesuit Basketball Spotlight which uses Jesuit basketball to raise awareness of Jesuit education. Both Loyola and Fairfield are Jesuit schools. The Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project highlights more than 90 games this season between men's and women's teams from the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities across the United States. Jesuit Catholic colleges and universities in the United States have more than 200,000 students currently and more than 1.7 million living alumni. For more information on Jesuit higher education in the United States, go to www.ajcunet.edu.
NEXT UP FOR LOYOLA: The Greyhounds return home for a pair of games in Reitz Arena after tonight. Monday, Loyola hosts Iona at 7 o'clock and one week from tonight Marist will be in town to visit for a 7:00 p.m. tip that will be televised on ESPNU.