THE GAME: The Greyhounds have won three straight for the first time this season and are seeking their fourth straight win since putting together a streak that long to close out the month of February last season. Saint Peter's has lost six of its last seven, but the one win was a two-point home win over the Greyhounds two Sundays ago.
THE COACHES: Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos enters his fifth season and has registered a 66-74 (.471) career record. The 1989 Catholic graduate is 4-5 against the Peacocks. Saint Peter's head coach John Dunne is in his third season with the Peacocks and sports a 16-62 (.205) career record. The 1992 Ithaca graduate is 2-3 against the Greyhounds.
THE TEAMS: Outside of conference foes, the only team that appears on the schedules of both teams is New Jersey Institute. Saint Peter's won on the Highlanders' home floor and the Greyhounds beat them at home last week. Within conference play, both teams suffered home losses to Fairfield and Niagara while Loyola collected a four-point victory at Manhattan Friday and the Peacocks suffered a two-point road loss to the Jaspers Monday afternoon.
THE SERIES: Saint Peter's leads the series, 38-30. Loyola had won three straight prior to the Peacocks' home win two Sundays ago. In last year's meeting at Reitz Arena, Gerald Brown exploded for 33 points as Loyola shot 55.3 percent for the game while holding the Peacocks to 18.5 percent in the first half. Junior guard Brett Harvey (11 points) and senior guard Marquis Sullivan (10 points) were among a group of four Greyhounds to reach double figures. Harvey and sophomore guard Brian Rudolph each handed out seven assists as Loyola recorded assists on 20 of its 26 baskets.
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 1122-1156 (.493) all-time record during the time.
LAST TIME OUT: Junior guard Brett Harvey jump-started a 13-3 Greyhounds run with eight of the points to snap a 57-all tie with nine minutes left in the contest as the Greyhounds won their third straight with an 83-73 MAAC home win over Marist Sunday. Sophomore guard Jamal Barney scored half of his game-high 22 points in the game's final four minutes to keep the Red Foxes at bay. He also added a career-high six assists, six rebounds and three steals. Loyola placed five players in double figures for the first time since the season opener as Harvey scored all 13 of his points after the intermission and junior forward Jawaan Wright scored all of his career-high 13 points in the first half. Senior guard Marquis Sullivan connected on five three-pointers en route to 17 points and sophomore guard Brian Rudolph rounded out the quintet with 11 points.
BARNEY NAMED MAAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore guard Jamal Barney received his second MAAC Player of the Week award this season on Monday after averaging 27.7 points and 7.3 rebounds to lead Loyola to a 3-0 week. He provided something different in each of his three performances. In scoring 40 points against NJIT, he established school records for free throws made (18) and attempted (22). At Manhattan, he connected on a career-high four three-pointers as part of his 21 points. Against Marist, he scored 11 points in the final four minutes of the game to help hold off the Red Foxes, finishing with 22 points to go along with a career-high six assists.
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 eight games in which opponents are making just 28.2 percent (33-117) from three-point territory. Entering the game with the Blue Devils, Greyhounds opponents were successful on 41.2 percent (73-177) of the time.
MORE ON BARNEY: After getting his legs under him and scoring just 66 points in his first six games, sophomore guard Jamal Barney has tallied in double figures in 13 of the 14 contests that followed, the only blip being an eight-point outing at Duke. In 10 of those 14, he has reached 20 or more points, including a 41-point effort at Canisius and 40 points 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 (18.5 ppg), having raised his scoring average 8.7 points since going scoreless in a November game against Cornell. Through games of January 18, he is ranked 54th nationally in scoring. He also is averaging 5.8 rebounds, lifting his average 2.3 boards per outing since that game with the Big Red. Since he moved into the starting lineup 16 games ago, he is averaging 20.7 points and 6.3 rebounds a game while shooting 45.1 percent from the floor (124-275) and 81.8 percent from the free-throw line (63-77).
HARVEY REACHES MILESTONE: Junior guard Brett Harvey became just the eighth player in men's basketball history to record 300 assists in a career in the win Sunday over Marist. With 233 more points, he will join a quintet of players with more than 1,000 points and 300 assists in a career (Tracy Bergan, Tom Gormley, Kevin Robinson, Jason Rowe). He needs 33 more points to become the 42nd player in recorded history to reach 800 career points. After not making a field goal against New Jersey Institute, he was shut out in the first half of the next two games only to ignite Greyhounds rallies with 13 points after the intermission in both games. He had a string of 47 consecutive free throws snapped the last time these two teams met and was ranked fifth nationally through games of January 18 as one of 13 players above 90 percent for the season. 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 is averaging 14.3 points over his last seven games while shooting 44.7 percent (17-38) from three-point range.
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 again Sunday in the win over Marist and is averaging 6.9 points, 5.0 assists and 2.6 rebounds while shooting 40.7 percent (22-54) from the floor and 72.1 percent (31-43) from the foul stripe in the 11 games since he came out of the starting lineup.
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. In his latest outing, he scored 17 points in 14 minutes against Marist, connecting on five three-pointers for the third time this season. He cracked the Top 25 in career scoring during the game and now has 1,119 career points. After not playing for two games, he came off the bench cold Friday night to drain the game-clinching free throws in the four-point win at Manhattan. 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 ESTABLISHES CAREER HIGH: Junior forward Jawaan Wright carried the Greyhounds with his first-half effort Sunday in the win over Marist. He did not miss a shot from the field and made five of his six free-throw attempts to score 13 points before the intermission to establish a new career high. He scored Loyola's final six points of the half to give Loyola a three-point lead. He also grabbed eight first-half rebounds to match his career-best in that category. He did not improve on either of those numbers in the second half after picking up two quick fouls but his contribution was significant. His double-digit scoring output was his first since coming off the bench to score 11 points late in the game at Davidson - 14 games prior.
FARRELL RESPONDS TO STARTING ROLE: After starting the season opener, senior forward Brad Farrell spent the next 17 games coming off the bench, seeing no more than 19 minutes in any outing until a 26-minute stint against New Jersey Institute. His two points, two rebounds and effort earned him the start Friday night and he responded. Playing a season-high 28 minutes, he made three field goals for a season-best six points and added three rebounds, one assist and a steal. He scored Loyola's first basket after freshman forward Anthony Winbush found him under the basket following a Winbush steal. He scored the last basket of the first half on a dunk after slipping to the basket and receiving the assist from junior guard Brett Harvey. His final field goal was a turnaround jumper in the lane with the shot clock winding down to give Loyola a 53-48 lead with 2:40 remaining. On Loyola's next possession, he rebounded a Greyhounds miss to give them a new shot clock, setting up a huge three-pointer from sophomore forward Isaac Reid to give Loyola a 56-49 lead with 1:12 remaining. He was back in the starting lineup again Sunday and did not score, but grabbed six rebounds in 26 minutes.
REID REACHES DOUBLE DIGITS: Sophomore forward Isaac Reid was in double figures in scoring at Saint Peter's for the first time in five games with 11 points. He added eight rebounds and blocked a shot in 22 minutes played. He followed that by grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds 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. In the win at Manhattan, he connected on a three-pointer with 1:12 remaining to give Loyola a seven-point lead.
WINBUSH CONTRIBUTING AS STARTER OR RESERVE: Keen observers have noticed the impact that freshman forward Anthony Winbush has made when he moved into the starting lineup for a 14-game stretch. 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. He came off the bench Friday and tied for team-high honors with eight rebounds and three assists. He was off the bench again Sunday with three rebounds and three assists to go along with four points. Over the last 16 games, he is averaging 4.3 points and 5.0 rebounds while recording 25 steals and 22 assists.
FICKE DOING ALL OF THE LITTLE THINGS: It's been a big two months for senior forward Dan Ficke. He graduated in December after 3-1/2 years with a degree in business. Later that month, he made his first career start, at Duke on national television no less. He enrolled in graduate school this month, seeking an MBA from Loyola's nationally known program. And of late, he has been on the floor during most of Loyola's offensive runs, although one would never know it. He has yet to score a point and his only shot taken this season came during his start at Duke, but his rebounding and screening has been game-changing.
SPREADING THE SCORING: Although sophomore guard Jamal Barney has taken much of the scoring load of late, through 20 games six different players have posted team-high scoring honors thus far. Barney has led the team 12 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).
NEXT TIME OUT: Loyola's brief two-game home stand concluded, the Greyhounds will play their next three on the road, starting with Sunday's visit to Marist. Game time is 4 o'clock. Next weekend, Loyola will play in consecutive road television games, opening with an ESPNU contest on January 30 at Rider and ending with a February 1 MAAC TV game at Fairfield.