LOYOLA-FAIRFIELD SERIES HISTORY: Fairfield leads the series, 33-14. The Stags swept the series last season and have won three straight.
JESUIT BASKETBALL SPOTLIGHT: Tonight's game is the first home game for Loyola 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.
LAST TIME OUT: Junior guard Brian Rudolph scored a season-high 18 points to lead four Greyhounds in double figures and Loyola led the entire way in an 80-64 MAAC road win at Marist Saturday night at the McCann Center. The Greyhounds scored seven of the first nine and held a 31-17 lead midway through the first half. The Red Foxes climbed within 46-43 with 16:34 remaining, but freshman guard Robert Olson (15 points) hit both free throws following a Marist technical foul and then a three-pointer on the possession that followed for an eight-point Loyola lead. Marist would get no closer the rest of the way. Sophomore guard J'hared Hall (12 points) and senior forward Jawaan Wright (11 points) rounded out the quarter of double-digit scorers.
FIRST-HALF SHOOTING PAVES THE WAY: For the eighth time this season, the Greyhounds shot better than 50 percent in the first half when they connected on 58.6 percent (17-29) in Saturday's win at Marist. That matched the second-best outing of the season first performed in the win at Indiana. Loyola is 6-2 in those eight games with the losses at No. 8 West Virginia and last Thursday at Siena.
SENIORS ARE SUPER-SUBS: Starting a junior, two sophomores and two freshmen, all that remained on Loyola's bench Saturday night at Marist were seniors and the experience delivered. The Greyhounds' bench held a 28-12 advantage over the Red Foxes led by 11 points from forward Jawaan Wright who also added seven rebounds. Guards Brett Harvey (nine points) and Tony Lewis (eight points) rounded out the scoring with the only other player to see action being guard Garrett Kelly, who did not score in five minutes of game time. With Harvey among three starters out when Marist visited Baltimore, Lewis and Wright were the super-subs that night, playing 27 and 26 minutes, respectively. Lewis scored 10 points and grabbed a game-high seven rebounds with two assists while Wright made all four of his attempts from the field for eight points with four rebounds, an assist and a steal.
RUDOLPH NOTCHES CAREER HIGH: One game after matching his season highs with 13 points and seven assists at Siena, junior guard Brian Rudolph scored a season- and team-best 18 points Saturday night in the win at Marist. He made five of eight attempts from the field and eight of his 10 foul shots to tally one shy of his career high. Since not playing in the home game against Siena, he is averaging 10.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists while shooting 43.6 percent (24-55) in 33.5 minutes played over the six games. He recently moved into eighth all-time in career assists and trails teammate Brett Harvey by four assists for seventh.
OLSON'S NAMED MAAC CO-ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: After scoring a career-high 20 points to lead Loyola to the home win over Marist, freshman guard Robert Olson was recognized by the MAAC as its Co-Rookie of the Week on January 19. He became the fourth MAAC freshman this season to tally 20 or more points in a contest, joining Fairfield's Derek Needham, Iona's Kyle Smyth and Marist's Sam Prescott. The Silver Spring native averaged 11.3 points for the week while shooting 52.2 percent (12-23) from the field and making four of his eight three-point attempts and all five of his free throws. He has scored in double figures in four of his last six games - the only four double-figure scoring outings of his career - while averaging 10.3 points and shooting 45.7 percent (21-46) from the field, 40.9 percent (9-22) from three-point range and 84.6 percent (11-13) from the foul line. Earlier this season, he collected six steals at UMBC, the fifth-best single game outing later matched by sophomore forward Anthony Winbush in the win at Indiana.
HALL RESPONDS TO STARTING: Sophomore guard J'hared Hall received his first start of the season due to injuries to three starters leading up to the Marist home game and he responded, scoring a career-best 16 points with five three-pointers. Hall entered the game averaging 2.5 points per game and bettered that by draining a three-pointer on the first shot of the contest. He had 10 points by halftime and his three-pointer with 71 seconds remaining gave Loyola a 66-58 lead. The five three-pointers equaled the 16th-best performance in school history. Since moving into the starting lineup four games ago, he is averaging 11.3 points while shooting 40.5 percent (15-37), including 43.5 percent (10-23) from three-point range in 31.5 minutes played.
WRIGHT ADDS BENCH PUNCH: Senior forward Jawaan Wright has come up big off the bench during the latest four-game stretch. He did not miss a shot in scoring eight points in the home win over Marist and missed just one shot en route to 11 points with seven rebounds Saturday night at Marist. Over the four-game stretch, he has averaged 6.8 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 64.7 percent (11-17) from the floor in 18.8 minutes off the bench.
WALKER BLOCKING THE PATH: Sophomore forward Shane Walker collected six blocks in the home win over Marist to set a career high and match the sixth-best single-game total in school history. His 31 blocked shots on the season is already the eighth highest number in school annals with at least 10 games to be played. He added eight points, six rebounds and a career-best four assists in that game and followed that with consecutive 13-point outings. The first double-double of his career came 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 (8.4 ppg), he is the team's leading rebounder at 6.5 boards per game.
HARVEY RETURNS TO LINEUP: Senior guard Brett Harvey finally returned to the lineup Saturday night at Marist after being able to play for just a single half in the six prior games. He missed the Jan. 4 home game with Siena after being hospitalized the previous weekend for a non-game related issue. Getting back on the floor in the next game at Fairfield, he was injured on a foul with one second left in the half and did not return. He then missed four straight contests. Before the Siena home game, he had played in 109 consecutive games and had not missed any playing time due to an injury since his freshman season. He was named the Player of the Week by both the MAAC (Co-Player) and the Jesuit Basketball Spotlight 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. 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 Loyola history to play in 100 career games in November at Mount St. Mary's and became the seventh player to surpass 350 career assists at Indiana.
KELLY SURPASSES CAREER POINTS IN ONE GAME: In search of a shooter at Siena, senior forward Garrett Kelly was given a chance and he responded. Entering the game with eight career points, he made four field goals - three of them being the first three-pointers of his career - for a career-best 11 points in 16 minutes. The Times Union Center was the site of his first career basket, that coming in last year's MAAC Tournament game with Canisius. Three of his baskets came during a stretch of 2:34 during the second half, one bucket tying the game and the two others stretching Loyola's lead to five. He received the first start of his career earlier this month when the Greyhounds hosted Siena.
CRAZY EIGHTS FOR BROOKS: Freshman forward Julius Brooks matched his career high of eight points for the fourth time in the home game 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. Against Iona, he blocked a career-best four shots while tying for team-high honors with six rebounds in just 20 minutes. He has started all 19 of his appearances, missing the game at Niagara with an illness, and is third on the team in rebounding with 4.1 boards per game.
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 in the home game against Siena, playing one minute without recording a statistic.
SHOOTING THE THREE: The Greyhounds connected on 13 three-pointers in the home win over Marist, tying the fourth-best total in school history. Of the top nine long-range performances at Loyola, five of those have come under sixth-year head coach Jimmy Patsos and four of those have taken place in Reitz Arena. The Greyhounds made eight three-pointers at Siena, shooting 47.1 percent (8-17).
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 30 blocks through 19 games and two other players have 17 or more. Walker recorded six blocks in the home win over Marist and senior forward Jawaan Wright collected four rejections Sunday at Saint Peter's. The Greyhounds collected nine blocked shots at Coppin State, equaling the third-best single-game effort in school history. Loyola rejected eight shots in the season-opening win over Vermont and matched that number in home games against both Iona and Marist. The Greyhounds blocked 29 shots in a recent four-game stretch, an average of 7.3 blocks per game.
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, seven lineups have been tested out with three newcomers - sophomore forward Shane Walker and freshmen Julius Brooks and Robert Olson - among the starting five 17 times.
THE DEFENSE DOESN'T REST: For the third time this season, the Greyhounds held an opponent to under 50 points, allowing Saint Peter's just 48. The last time Loyola gave up less than 50 points for three games in a season was 1979-1980 when the program competed in Division II. 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.
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.
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 1136-1174 (.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".
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 played against each other at Cardinal Gibbons on January 19 with Cormier's 39 points leading his team to a win as Drummond scored 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' final televised contest is Feb. 14 when Loyola visits Iona in a MAAC TV production that will appear on MASN.
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 Jan. 31 when the Greyhounds host Niagara at 3 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 after tonight will be Sunday when Loyola hosts Niagara at 3 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.
NEXT UP FOR LOYOLA: The quick two-game homestand concludes Sunday afternoon when the Greyhounds host Niagara at 3 o'clock. The game is the final activity of Loyola's Basketball Alumni Weekend which features Alumnae and Alumni games along with the Greyhounds' women's team hosting Fairfield on Saturday at 2 o'clock.