THE GAME: The Greyhounds return to conference play following Wednesday's non-league win over New Jersey Institute while Manhattan has not played since a home loss to Siena on Sunday. Both teams have won just two of their last six games.
THE COACHES: Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos enters his fifth season and has registered a 64-74 (.464) career record. The 1989 Catholic graduate is 4-5 against the Jaspers. Manhattan head coach Barry Rohrssen is in his third season with the Jaspers and sports a 34-43 (.442) career record. The 1983 St. Francis (N.Y.) graduate is 1-3 against the Greyhounds.
THE TEAMS: Outside of conference foes, the only team that appears on both schedules of tonight's opponents is New Jersey Institute. Manhattan opened the season with a win on the Highlanders' home floor while Loyola grabbed a home win over New Jersey Institute on Wednesday night. Within the conference, both teams picked up wins at Canisius and losses at Niagara while they were there together in early January and both teams were beaten at home by league-leader Siena.
THE SERIES: Manhattan leads the series, 29-15, although Loyola has won two straight and two consecutive at Draddy Gymnasium. The series began with a pair of games in 1913-1914 and has been contested every year since the Greyhounds became members of the MAAC in 1989-1990. Last year at Draddy Gymnasium, Marquis Sullivan made eight of 12 from the floor en route to a game-high 23 points and Brett Harvey added 11 points with seven assists in Loyola's 79-60 win. In the matchup at Loyola earlier in the season, Harvey posted his first career double-double with 10 rebounds and 11 assists and Sullivan scored 15 points in a 77-54 Greyhounds home win.
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 1120-1156 (.492) all-time record during the time.
LAST TIME OUT: Sophomore guard Jamal Barney reached the 40-point barrier for the second time in 12 days while establishing school records for free throws made (18) and attempted (22) in a 70-62 non-conference home win Wednesday over New Jersey Institute. Barney scored 22 second-half points, including 16 straight over an 11- minute stretch to finish the game as the Greyhounds' only double-digit scorer. Sophomore forward Isaac Reid led all rebounders with 11 boards to go along with eight points.
GREYHOUNDS SHORE UP THREE-POINT DEFENSE: Opponents' ability to shoot the three-point shot early in the season was one area of concern for the Greyhounds, but they have shown drastic improvement of late. Since holding Duke to 1-of-12 shooting, Loyola has put together six games in which opponents are making just 27.0 percent (24-89) from three-point territory. Entering the game with the Blue Devils, Greyhounds opponents were successful on 41.2 percent (73-177) of the time.
BARNEY CONTINUES RECORD BOOK ASSAULT: Sophomore guard Jamal Barney came to Loyola from Providence with the reputation as a scorer and he has not disappointed. After not playing in a game since January 2007, he shook off early-season rust by scoring just 66 points in his first six games. Since then, here is a brief listing of his scoring exploits thus far this season:
He scored 41 points at Canisius, making 15 of 19 attempts from the field.
It was just the fourth 40-point outing in school history and the first one in more than 50 years.
The 41 points is tied for the seventh-best effort in the NCAA this season.
The 15 field goals matched the third-best outing in recorded school history.
The 15 field goals is the second-highest performance in the NCAA this season.
He scored 40 points Wednesday against New Jersey Institute, giving him two 40-point efforts in the span of 12 days.
During the game, he established school records for free throws made (18) and attempted (22).
It was just the fifth 40-point outing in school history and he is the only player in school history to have two of the five.
The 40 points is tied for the 15th-best effort in the NCAA this season.
He joined two other players in the NCAA to have two or more 40-point performances this season - Davidson's Stephen Curry (three times) and Cal State Fullerton's Josh Akognon.
All four of the members of the Loyola 40-point club are living and both of Barney's efforts were witnessed by members - Joel Hittleman '54 was in the stands at Canisius when Barney scored 41 and Paul Dodd '57 was in attendance at Reitz Arena Wednesday night. Jim Lacy '49, the first member and the school's all-time leading scorer, lives in the Baltimore area is a regular attendee of games at Reitz Arena.
MORE ON BARNEY: After getting his legs under him and scoring just 66 points in his first six games, he has tallied in double figures in 11 of the 12 contests that followed, the only blip being an eight-point outing at Duke. In eight of those 12, he has reached 20 or more points, including a 41-point effort at Canisius and 40 points Wednesday against New Jersey Institute. Those are the only 40-point games in the MAAC this season. He has overtaken the top spot in the conference in points per game (18.2 ppg), having raised his scoring average 8.4 points since going scoreless in a November game against Cornell. He also is averaging 5.6 rebounds, lifting his average 2.1 boards per outing since that Cornell game. Since he moved into the starting lineup 14 games ago, he is averaging 20.6 points and 6.2 rebounds a game while shooting 46.6 percent from the floor (109-234) and 80.9 percent from the free-throw line (55-68).
HARVEY GIVING TEAM WHAT IT NEEDS: For the second time this season, junior guard Brett Harvey has followed a stretch of four double-figure outings by scoring one field goal or less in his next outing. Each time, the drought has lasted two games before he has bounced back. He worked his way into the scoring column Wednesday night by making seven of his eight attempts from the free-throw line for his only seven points. He made 47 consecutive free throws before missing the first two of a three-shot foul trip at Saint Peter's. He entered the game fourth in the NCAA in free-throw percentage through games played of January 8 and is now listed fifth in the lastest rankings. 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 entered Wednesday averaging 16.8 points over his previous four games while shooting 44.0 percent from the floor (22-50) and 52.2 percent from three-point range (12-23).
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 after the incident over three games, handing out five helpers with no turnovers at UC Davis and six assists with just one turnover at North Carolina State. He led the team in scoring with 13 points at Duke and then made seven free throws for his only points while handing out seven assists in the win at Canisius. He was back in double figures at Niagara and is averaging 6.6 points, 5.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 38.6 percent (17-44) from the floor and 75.8 percent (25-33) from the foul stripe in the nine games since he came out of the starting lineup.
REID REACHES DOUBLE DIGITS: Sophomore forward Isaac Reid was in double figures in scoring Sunday for the first time in five games with 11 points at Saint Peter's. He added eight rebounds and blocked a shot in 22 minutes played. He followed that by grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds Wednesday against New Jersey Institute. Five times this season he has reached double figures in points and four times he has grabbed 10 or more rebounds. Only once has he done both in the same game, scoring 17 points with 14 rebounds at UC Davis for his first career double-double.
WINBUSH DOING THE LITTLE THINGS: Keen observers have noticed the impact that freshman forward Anthony Winbush has made since moving into the starting lineup 14 games ago. After playing just 34 minutes in the season's first four games, he hadn't played less than 22 in any of his 14 starts until Wednesday night when he played just one minute after succumbing to the flu. Since moving into the starting lineup, he is averaging 4.4 points and 4.9 rebounds while recording 23 steals and 16 assists.
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 at North Carolina State. He has made four or more three-pointers four times in 12 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.
WRIGHT PUTS UP THE BLOCKS: Junior forward Jawaan Wright has already collected 18 blocked shots through his 16 games, including five at Vermont. He leads the team in field-goal percentage (.571) and is fourth in rebounding (2.9 rpg). He has cracked the Top 15 in Loyola's career blocked shots list, recording 38 in two-plus seasons thus far to tie for 13th.
SPREADING THE SCORING: Although sophomore guard Jamal Barney has taken much of the scoring load of late, through 18 games six different players have posted team-high scoring honors thus far. Barney has led the team 10 times, senior guard Marquis Sullivan and junior guard Brett Harvey three times, and sophomores Tony Lewis, Brian Rudolph and Isaac Reid (shared) have each done so once. Last season, only four Greyhounds posted a team high through 33 games - Gerald Brown (19 times), Sullivan (seven), Michael Tuck (five) and Harvey (twice).
GOOD BYE 2008: The Greyhounds concluded the 2008 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. Loyola won its 2009 opener but lost three straight before winning Wednesday night. Time will tell how the rest of the month fares.
NEXT TIME OUT: The Greyhounds return home after tonight's game to host a pair of MAAC contests in their next two games. Sunday afternoon Loyola will entertain Marist starting at noon and Thursday night Loyola will host Saint Peter's at 7 o'clock in a game that will be televised live on MASN.