THE GAME: The Greyhounds have won five straight for the first time this season and are seeking their sixth straight win. It would be Loyola's longest winning streak since a six-gamer last season from mid-January through the first game of February. Rider swept its pair of games last weekend to conclude a four-game road swing. The Broncs have not played at home in 19 days.
THE COACHES: Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos enters his fifth season and has registered a 68-74 (.479) career record. The Greyhounds' win Sunday at Marist moved Patsos into fifth place all-time in victories at Loyola with 68. The 1989 Catholic graduate is 5-3 against the Broncs. Rider head coach Tommy Dempsey is in his fourth season with the Broncs and sports a 58-54 (.518) record at the school. He is in his 10th season overall as a head coach and has put together a 146-64 (.695) career record. The 1997 Susquehanna graduate is 1-5 against the Greyhounds.
THE TEAMS: Outside of conference foes, the only team that appears on the schedules on both of tonight's opponents is New Jersey Institute. Both teams collected home wins over the Highlanders earlier this season. Among conference foes, both teams won their home games over Marist and lost at Niagara. The Greyhounds collected a win at Canisius while the Broncs lost on the Golden Griffins' home floor while Loyola lost at Saint Peter's and Rider beat the Peacocks at the Prudential Center in what was considered Saint Peter's home game.
THE SERIES: Rider leads the series, 19-12, although Loyola has won five of the last six. The Greyhounds posted consecutive season sweeps before the teams traded home wins last season. Rider shot 58.6 percent (17-29) in the first half and forced 20 Loyola turnovers in its 81-67 home win. The Greyhounds overcame a 15-point deficit to collect a 73-68 win in the rematch. Senior guard Marquis Sullivan was 4-10 shooting with two three-pointers in both games in scoring 10 points in each. Junior guard Brett Harvey added 10 points in the Loyola home win with sophomore guard Brian Rudolph handing out a career-high 10 assists to go along with his eight points.
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 1124-1156 (.493) all-time record during the time.
LAST TIME OUT: Junior guard Brett Harvey beat the buzzer with a 35-footer to send the game to overtime and sophomore guard Jamal Barney took over in the extra session by scoring eight of Loyola's 10 points including the game-winning reverse layup with 6.4 ticks remaining in the Greyhounds' 73-72 overtime win Sunday at Marist. Barney finished with game highs for points (26), rebounds (eight) and steals (three) while Harvey added 19 points for the only Greyhounds in double figures. Both players were a perfect 10-10 from the free-throw line as Loyola made all 14 of its attempts after the intermission, making 84.4 percent (27-32) for the game while holding a decisive 42-29 rebounding advantage.
WIN AT MARIST SIGNIFICANT ON MANY FRONTS: Sunday's win at Marist was significant for a variety of reasons:
The victory was the 68th in the Greyhounds tenure of head coach Jimmy Patsos, moving him into fifth place on Loyola's all-time win list.
It was the 10th win of the season, giving the Greyhounds double-digit victories for the fourth consecutive season for the first time since 1995-1996 through 1998-1999.
Patsos is the first coach to have four consecutive seasons with double figures in wins since Mark Amatucci did so between 1983-1984 and 1986-1987.
The overtime win keeps Patsos unbeaten in five extra-session games. It was also the sixth straight overtime win for the program.
It was Loyola's first win at Marist since an 81-69 Greyhounds victory on January 27, 1999, ending a nine-game losing streak.
It gave the Greyhounds a sweep of the Red Foxes for the first time since 1997-98 - Marist's first season in the MAAC.
It brought Loyola's MAAC record to even (5-5) after starting conference play 1-5.
Patsos has led Loyola to five or more conference wins in all five of his seasons with eight games remaining this season. The Greyhounds won just 12 MAAC contests in the five seasons prior for an average of 2.4 per campaign.
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 nine games in which opponents are making just 27.3 percent (39-143) from three-point territory. Entering the game with the Blue Devils, Greyhounds opponents had been successful 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 ninth-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 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 16th-best effort in the NCAA this season.
Through January 25, he is joined by three other players in the NCAA to have two or more 40-point performances this season - Davidson's Stephen Curry (three times), Cal State Fullerton's Josh Akognon (two) and Kentucky's Jodie Meeks (two).
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, sophomore guard Jamal Barney has tallied in double figures in 15 of the 16 contests that followed, the only blip being an eight-point outing at Duke. In 11 of those 16, 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 taken over the top spot in the conference in points per game (18.8 ppg), having raised his scoring average nine points since going scoreless in a November game against Cornell. Through games of January 25, he is ranked 50th nationally in scoring. He also is averaging 5.7 rebounds, lifting his average 2.2 boards per outing since that game with the Big Red. Since he moved into the starting lineup 18 games ago, he is averaging 20.8 points and 6.2 rebounds a game while shooting 44.4 percent from the floor (139-313) and 81.7 percent from the free-throw line (76-93). In 14 of those 18 starts, he has scored in double figures after the intermission and than 15 points six of those times, including four instances in the last six contests. He boasts a 12.6 scoring average after halftime. His 26 points at Marist gave him more than 400 on the season, making it the 48th season of 400 or more points in Greyhounds history.
HARVEY HITS BUZZER BEATER: While he scored what proved to be the winning basket with 55 seconds remaining in a victory at Saint Peter's as a freshman, junior guard Brett Harvey had never beaten the buzzer to win or tie a game. That is, until Sunday. Down three at Marist, the Greyhounds turned to their best clutch shooter and he delivered with a 35-footer that rattled home and sent the game to overtime. Loyola won it in the extra session for its fifth straight win. One week earlier, he became the eighth player in men's basketball history to record 300 assists in a career and he now needs 203 points to join a quintet of Greyhounds players with more than 1,000 points and 300 assists in a career (Tracy Bergan, Tom Gormley, Kevin Robinson, Jason Rowe). Three more points will make him the 42nd player in Loyola's recorded history to reach 800 career points. He had a string of 47 consecutive free throws snapped at Saint Peter's and has a current streak of 24 straight after hitting all 10 of his attempts at Marist. Twice he was fouled on a three-point shot attempt and made all three free throws. Through games of January 25, he is ranked second nationally in free-throw percentage and is one of 12 players above 90 percent for the season. Five 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 14.4 points over his last nine games while shooting 43.5 percent (20-46) 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 in the home win over Marist and is averaging 7.0 points, 4.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds while shooting 40.0 percent (26-65) from the floor and 73.1 percent (38-52) from the foul stripe in the 13 games since he came out of the starting lineup.
SULLIVAN REACHES 1,000: Senior guard Marquis Sullivan was honored prior to the game on December 10 for scoring the 1,000th point of his career. The 29th player to reach that milestone, 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 scored 17 points in 14 minutes in the home win 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 1,136 career points. After not playing for two games, he came off the bench cold 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 in the home 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. In Sunday's rematch with the Red Foxes, he played a significant role late in the game. He created a tie-up to give Loyola a possession late in regulation and then in the overtime, he made a pair of free throws with 1:49 remaining and then dove on the floor for a loose ball and called time out to save a possession with 49.3 seconds left in the extra session.
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 overall effort earned him the start at Manhattan 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 has started four straight including that game, matching the six points scored in the win over Saint Peter's and then grabbing six and four rebounds in the two wins over Marist.
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 PROVIDING SPARK OFF THE BENCH: 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 the NJIT game when he played just one minute after succumbing to the flu. He came off the bench at Manhattan and tied for team-high honors with eight rebounds and three assists. He has continued to come off the bench for the last four games, averaging 3.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals while averaging 21.0 minutes played over that stretch.
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 at the beginning of the month, he was 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 was game-changing.
TRAVELING WITH THE GREYHOUNDS: When Jimmy Patsos took the reins of the program, he made a commitment to develop the "student" part of "student-athlete" and has held to his word. Much of those teachings have come with how the Greyhounds spend their time off the court. In past years, they have attended Broadway shows and the Chicago Board of Trade as a group. This year has been no different. Already this season, the Greyhounds have had cultural lunch experience while in Boston; visited the Castro, Coit Tower and the Haight-Asbury district in addition to traveling over the Golden Gate Bridge while in San Francisco; and have viewed two Academy Award-nominated films ("Milk" and "Slumdog Millionaire"). On the basketball side, they have practiced at the University of San Francisco, Cameron Indoor Stadium and the Dean Smith Center, all of which have multiple National Championship banners hanging in their rafters.
SPREADING THE SCORING: Although sophomore guard Jamal Barney has taken much of the scoring load of late, through 22 games six different players have posted team-high scoring honors thus far. Barney has led the team 14 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 triumphs in six of the first seven. And 2008 started with the Greyhounds tasting victory in eight of 11. Loyola won its 2009 opener and responded to a three-game losing skid by winning five in a row. One game remains tonight.
NEXT TIME OUT: Tonight is the sandwich game of a three-game road stretch that concludes Sunday afternoon when the Greyhounds visit Fairfield at 2 o'clock for a MAAC TV game. The contest will be seen in Baltimore on MASN. Loyola will be back in Reitz Arena on February 7 when it hosts Manhattan at 7:00 p.m.