Jan. 25, 2008
THE GAME: Loyola enters this afternoon having won three straight, four of five and five of its last six MAAC contests. The Greyhounds are back at .500 since a three-game December losing streak dropped them to 5-8 following the win that month over the Jaspers. Manhattan has lost four straight and seven of eight after starting the season with seven wins in its first 11 games. Loyola put together a three-game winning streak earlier this season after losing the opener at Towson and last won four straight to open January 2007.
THE COACHES: Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos is in his fourth season and is just the eighth coach in Loyola's 98-season history to be on the sidelines for 100 or more games. He has registered a 49-58 (.458) career record. The 1989 Catholic graduate is 3-5 against the Jaspers. Manhattan head coach Barry Rohrssen is in his second season with the Jaspers and has a 21-28 (.429) career record. The 1983 St. Francis (N.Y.) graduate has a 1-2 mark against the Greyhounds.
THE TEAMS: Outside of conference opponents, the only team that appears on the schedules of both teams is New Jersey Institute. Manhattan beat the Highlanders to open the season by a 70-28 count and Loyola will visit New Jersey Institute on Tuesday. Among MAAC foes, both teams have played Marist, Rider, Saint Peter's and Siena. The Jaspers boast a win over the Peacocks, was recently swept in a two-game home-and-home with the Broncs and has losses against the Red Foxes and Saints. The Greyhounds lost at Rider and have home wins over Marist and Siena and a win at Saint Peter's.
THE SERIES: Manhattan leads the series, 29-14, with the teams splitting a pair of contests in the first season they met, 1913-14. Loyola swept the series in three straight seasons (1995-98) and after each team won on the other's home court in 1998-99, Manhattan swept the series for the next five years (1999-2004). The Greyhounds have won two of three after winning games in the last two Decembers. The complete series history is listed on Page 3 of this release.
THE PROGRAM: Loyola is playing its 98th recorded season of basketball this season. The first season was 1908-09 and the Greyhounds have posted a 1104-1139 (.492) all-time record. The College announced recently its plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first season of Loyola basketball November 14-16, 2008.
LAST TIME OUT: The Greyhounds set a new school record with 18 three-pointers and Loyola placed five players in double figures for the second straight home game as it won its third straight with a 85-56 romp over first-place Siena. The Greyhounds' defense held Siena to one made field goal in its first 17 shots in building a 16-3 lead and never trailed. Loyola finished shooting 54.5 percent from the field for the game (30-55) and 56.3 percent from three-point range (18-32). The Greyhounds also held a significant 46-32 rebounding edge. Senior forward Michael Tuck led all scorers with a career-best 23 points and senior guard Gerald Brown added 20, including his 1,000th Loyola point. Sophomore guard Brett Harvey made five three-pointers en route to 16 points and freshman backcourt mate Brian Rudolph chipped in with 10. Junior guard Marquis Sullivan rounded out the quintet with 13 points off the bench, including fittingly the record-breaking three-pointer with 2:55 remaining in the game.
GREYHOUNDS RAIN THREES: Thursday's win over Siena saw Loyola set a new school record for three-pointers made with its 18. That eclipsed the mark of 16 first established on December 9, 2005, in an overtime win at Fairfield, and equaled on January 8, 2006, in a home win over Marist. The performance tied the MAAC record which is held by Siena after making 18 in a home win over Saint Peter's on December 4, 1999. The 56.3 percent from three-point range (18-32) is a season high for the Greyhounds as was the 54.5 percent from the field (30-55).
DEFENSE! DEFENSE!: In holding Siena Thursday night to 29.2 percent from the field (19-65), the Greyhounds recorded its season-low for an opponent's shooting percentage. The previous low was the 29.6 percent from the floor (16-54) shot by Manhattan when these teams met in Baltimore last month. The Saints also made just 22.2 percent of their attempts from the floor (6-27) and opened the game making just one of its first 17 field-goal attempts. Earlier this month, Loyola held Iona to just two field goals during a decisive 28-6 run that spanned 13 minutes over both halves in which the only baskets were a dunk and a layup. The Greyhounds followed that by allowing Fairfield only six first-half field goals in beating the Stags at home for the third straight season.
AND MORE DEFENSE!: Coupled with the 57 points scored by Saint Peter's one week ago, Loyola has allowed less than 60 points in back-to-back MAAC games for the first time since January 25-27, 2001, when Iona scored 59 and Canisius scored 57. The last time the Greyhounds held three straight MAAC opponents to less than 60 points scored in the regular season was during a three-game winning streak to close out the 1996-97 season when Siena (55), Saint Peter's (49) and Fairfield (59) failed to reach 60 points. Loyola's next outing was a 53-43 loss to Niagara in the MAAC Quarterfinals, making four straight games of holding teams under 60. In four of Loyola's six MAAC wins, its opponent has failed to reach 60 points, including the season-low of 51 scored by Iona, the fewest given up by the Greyhounds since a 65-50 win over North Florida on November 11, 2006. The number was the lowest for a MAAC opponent since Rider scored 50 in a 50-44 win over the Greyhounds on February 21, 2003. Loyola is allowing MAAC opponents the fewest rebounds in the league (30.9 per game) and is first in rebounding margin (+6.4) through nine league games.
GREYHOUNDS AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS: Loyola is represented in several categories among the nation's statistical leaders. In NCAA-released statistics for games played through January 24, senior guard Gerald Brown is ranked 62nd in scoring average and 65th in steals per game, junior guard Marquis Sullivan is ranked 72th in three-point field-goal percentage and 97th in three-point field goals made per game and sophomore guard Brett Harvey is 28th in assist/turnover ratio. In team statistics, the Greyhounds are 31st nationally in free-throw percentage and 59th in three-point field goals made per game.
TUCK ADDS ANOTHER CAREER PERFORMANCE: One game after equaling his career-best in scoring and establishing his career-high in rebounding, senior forward Michael Tuck bettered that career mark in scoring with 23 points in the win Thursday over Siena. He made a season-high nine of his 13 shots from the floor, including a career-high four three-pointers in six attempts, and also added eight rebounds. In his last four games, he is averaging 16.5 points and 8.3 rebounds while shooting 61.0 percent from the floor (25-41) and 58.3 percent from three-point range (7-12). After averaging 5.6 rebounds through the first five games of the season, he has averaged 7.8 boards in the 15 outings since.
BROWN SCORES 1,000 LOYOLA POINTS: On the night he was honored for scoring the 1,000th point of his career, senior guard Gerald Brown notched his 1,000th point in a Loyola uniform on the second of back-to-back three-pointers with 3:09 remaining in the first half Thursday night to push the Greyhounds' lead back to double digits at 27-15. In achieving the feat in 49 career games, he became the 28th player in school history to reach that plateau and the first since Jason Rowe in 1999. The complete list of 1,000-point scorers is listed on Page 82 of the 2007-08 Loyola Men's Basketball Media Guide. In addition to his 20 points against Siena, he grabbed eight rebounds and equaled his career-best with five assists.
HARVEY ADJUSTING TO NEW ROLE JUST NICELY: Sophomore guard Brett Harvey has adjusted nicely to his new role as the starter at shooting guard. Moved from the starter at the point five games ago to make room for freshman Brian Rudolph, Harvey has scored in double figures in four of the five games and scored nine points with seven assists and no turnovers in the fifth one. He made seven of his 11 shots from the field en route to a career-high 20 points at Fairfield and connected on five three-pointers to equal his career-best in scoring 16 points in the win Thursday over Siena. In the five games since the move, he is averaging 14.2 points, 4.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds while playing 34.4 minutes a game and shooting 51.2 percent from the floor (21-41), 50.0 percent from three-point (14-28), and 75.0 percent from the free-throw line (15-20). He had scored just 19 points in the four games prior to shifting to shooting guard.
RUDOLPH RESPONDS TO STARTING ROLE: Freshman guard Brian Rudolph was moved back into the starting lineup at Fairfield and has responded. Loyola has won four of the five games since and eight of the Greyhounds' 10 wins have come with Rudolph in the starting lineup. Against the Stags, he handed out a career-best eight assists and held Fairfield guard Jonathan Han without a field goal until there was 6:42 remaining in the game and Loyola had built an 11-point lead. He played the entire second half in the win over Marist and equaled his career-high with 12 points while grabbing a team-high seven rebounds with five assists. At Saint Peter's, he handed out seven assists and pulled down five rebounds and his only points of the game came in the second half as his three-pointer gave the Greyhounds the lead for good and his two free throws sealed the victory with 8.7 seconds remaining. The 10-point outing in the win over Siena was his fifth double-digit scoring effort this season and he is averaging 8.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists while playing 29.8 minutes a game and shooting 48.1 percent from the field (13-27), 46.2 percent from three-point (6-13) and 81.8 percent from the free-throw line (9-11) in the five games since returning to the starting lineup.
SULLIVAN EXCELLING OFF THE BENCH: Junior guard Marquis Sullivan has taken to his renewed role off the bench. In 12 games out of the starting lineup, he has scored in double figures eight times, including each of the last four. Now second on the career charts for three-pointers made and attempted behind only Jason Rowe, the Maryland native has torched the nets in Reitz Arena this season. In eight home games, he has reached double digits seven times - scoring nine in the eighth outing - and is averaging 14.5 points while shooting 49.4 percent from the field (41-83) and 50 percent from three-point range (27-54). Fittingly, his final three-pointer against the Saints Thursday night broke the school record for three-pointers by the Greyhounds in a game as they finished with 18.
ISREAL SETS REBOUNDING CAREER HIGH: Senior forward Omari Isreal took just one shot from the field in the win Thursday over Siena, but his impact on the game was monumental. While he allowed his teammates to establish a school record for three-pointers made in a game, the Rockville, Md., native grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds, including 12 missed Saints shots. His previous career-mark for rebounding came in Loyola's home win over Siena last January when he collected 12 boards. His 29 blocks is the eighth-highest season total in recorded school history and he has 50 blocks in 43 career games. He has been impressive in games played at Reitz Arena, averaging 10.0 points and 6.8 rebounds in 17 career home games while helping the Greyhounds to a 13-4 record in those games. This season, he has averaged 9.0 points and 6.3 boards in eight games at Reitz.
FOFANA MAKES HIS PRESENCE KNOWN: It has been a trying two years for senior center Hassan Fofana due to injury. Limited to 16 games last season after injuring his leg, he had not played yet in 2008 after injuring himself at Illinois until last weekend. Working his way back to health, he came off the bench to play 12 minutes against Marist and equaled his season-highs with four points and six rebounds and followed that with two points and two rebounds in 13 minutes at Saint Peter's. Style and pace of the game limited him to just seven minutes in the win over Siena.
FICKE IGNITES DEFENSIVE RALLY: Junior forward Dan Ficke had played in just 52 minutes in his two-plus seasons at Loyola, but when he was called upon in the Iona home game, he delivered. While playing 17 minutes, the Engelwood, Colo., native grabbed a career-best five rebounds, scored a basket and handed out an assist. More importantly, he was on the floor for 10:32 of a 13:26 stretch when the Greyhounds put together a 28-6 run to turn an eight-point deficit into a 14-point lead. He followed that with four rebounds in 16 minutes at Kansas, three rebounds in 13 minutes at Fairfield and then career-highs for minutes played (18) and points (five) at Rider. His conventional three-point play gave Loyola its last lead of the first half with 90 seconds remaining before intermission after battling back from a 13-point deficit.
AND MANNING IGNITES OFFENSE: Senior guard Greg Manning became the second little-used Loyola player in as many games to make a significant contribution off the bench when he scored 10 points at Kansas. The shooting specialist made four of his six attempts from the floor, equaling his two-year-old career high in just 11 minutes. He also grabbed two rebounds and collected two steals. Manning entered the game having scored 14 points on the season. He followed that with a key three-pointer during a 12-4 Loyola run at Fairfield that helped the Greyhounds to an 11-point lead with 7:38 remaining.
GREYHOUNDS STRIVE FOR FIVE: Loyola has placed five players on double figures in each of last two home games, wins over Marist and Siena, each of whom was in first place in the conference standings at the time. In both games, the group consisted of Gerald Brown, Brett Harvey, Marquis Sullivan, Brian Rudolph and Michael Tuck. Loyola also accomplished the feat when it played at Seton Hall as Omari Isreal and Joe Miles joined Brown, Sullivan and Tuck. Last season, the Greyhounds put five players in double figures in back-to-back January games, overtime wins at Siena (Brown, Tuck, Josko Alujevic, Harvey, Sullivan) and at home over Niagara (Brown, Tuck, Sullivan, Harvey, Isreal).
TUCK, RUDOLPH FETED BY MAAC: Senior forward Michael Tuck and freshman guard Brian Rudolph were selected as the MAAC's Player and Rookie of the Week, respectively, on January 21 after leading Loyola to a sweep of its conference games for the preceding week. This is the second time in two seasons that Loyola has swept the weekly awards after Gerald Brown and Brett Harvey accomplished the feat following a 2-0 week on January 15, 2007. This is the first career award for Tuck, who averaged 16.5 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 54.5 percent from the floor (12-22) and 80 percent from the free-throw line (8-10). Rudolph was honored for the second time this season after he averaged 8.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists while making 55.6 percent from the field (5-9) and 83.3 percent from the charity stripe (5-6).