THE GAME: The Greyhounds have won six straight for the first time this season and are seeking their seventh straight win. The current streak matches the six-gamer put together last season from mid-January through the first game of February. The last time Loyola won seven or more consecutive games was when it collected eight straight wins in January and February of 1964-1965. Fairfield snapped a three-game losing streak with its home win Friday night over Marist.
THE COACHES: Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos enters his fifth season and has registered a 69-74 (.483) career record. The victory at Marist moved him into fifth place all-time in wins at Loyola. The 1989 Catholic graduate is 4-7 against the Stags. Fairfield head coach Ed Cooley is in his third season with the Stags and sports a 40-44 (.476) career record. The 1994 Stonehill graduate is 4-3 against the Greyhounds.
THE TEAMS: Outside of conference foes, there are no teams that appear on the schedules on both of tonight's opponents. Among conference foes, both teams won their home games over Marist and Saint Peter's and lost home games to Siena. The Greyhounds win at Manhattan while Fairfield lost on the Jaspers' home floor and the Stags won at Saint Peter's while Loyola lost in its visit to the Yanitelli Center.
THE SERIES: Fairfield leads the series, 30-12. The Stags snapped a two-game Greyhounds winning streak last month when they collected a 63-60 win at Loyola. It was the 10th consecutive road win for Fairfield in the series. The Greyhounds have returned the favor in each of the last three seasons, winning games at the Arena at Harbor Yard in each. The middle of those was a 76-72 MAAC Quarterfinal victory that eliminated the Stags from the championship on their own home floor. Loyola also knocked Fairfield out of last year's tournament in the quarterfinals with a 64-59 win in Albany, N.Y.
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 1125-1156 (.493) all-time record during the time.
LAST TIME OUT: Sophomore guard Jamal Barney and junior guard Brett Harvey combined to score 30 second-half points to match Rider's output as Loyola never trailed after the intermission in posting a 75-61 MAAC road win for its sixth straight victory. Barney scored 17 of his game-high 28 after halftime with 14 of those coming over the game's final eight minutes and Harvey tallied 13 of his 18 in the final 20 minutes. Loyola opened the second half on an 18-6 run and closed the game on an 18-5 run, scoring the final 10 points of the game after Rider closed within 65-61 with 2:05 remaining. Sophomore guard Brian Rudolph did not miss a shot from the field in scoring 12 points while grabbing a season-high seven rebounds and junior forward Jawaan Wright corralled a career-high 11 boards.
GREYHOUNDS ON SUPER BOWL SUNDAY: Loyola has recorded a 7-4 mark in games played on the day the National Football League crowns its champion. Under fifth-year head coach Jimmy Patsos, the Greyhounds have played three times on Super Bowl Sunday and have won twice, including last season's 74-62 road win at Canisius. The only time that Loyola and Fairfield have met on Super Bowl Sunday was January 25, 1998, with the Greyhounds collecting an 86-80 home win for its fifth straight victory on the date.
JANUARY SUCCESS COMES AGAIN: Despite starting the New Year with three losses in its first four games, Loyola concluded January with a 7-3 record, matching the 7-3 mark posted last season. Both are one game less than the 8-2 record put together by the 2006-2007 team, winning eight of its 18 games during that one month. All told, the Greyhounds are 22-8 (.733) in the last three seasons in January under fifth-year head coach Jimmy Patsos.
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 26.8 percent (44-164) 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 third-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 17th-best effort in the NCAA this season.
Through January 29, 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 16 of the 17 contests that followed, the only blip being an eight-point outing at Duke. In 12 of those 17, 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 (19.2 ppg), having raised his scoring average 9.4 points since going scoreless in a November game against Cornell. Through games of January 29, he is ranked 45th 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 19 games ago, he is averaging 21.2 points and 6.2 rebounds a game while shooting 45.1 percent from the floor (147-326) and 81.3 percent from the free-throw line (87-107). In 15 of those 19 starts, he has scored in double figures after the intermission and more than 15 points seven of those times, including five instances in the last seven contests. He boasts a 12.8 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 last 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 185 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). He is 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 then made 26 straight before making just eight of nine at Rider. Twice at the Red Foxes he was fouled on a three-point shot attempt and made all three free throws and then did it again Friday at Rider. Through games of January 29, he is ranked second nationally in free-throw percentage and is one of 11 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 14.8 points over his last 10 games while shooting 44.0 percent (22-50) 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 has scored in double figures in two of his last four games after not missing a shot from the field en route to 12 points in the win at Rider. He also grabbed seven rebounds against the Broncs. He is averaging 7.4 points, 4.4 assists and 3.3 rebounds while shooting 43.5 percent (30-69) from the floor in the 14 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 1,141 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 and he moved into the Top 10 with his appearance at Rider.
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 then 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 the 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. Friday at Rider, he collected a career-high 11 rebounds while scoring four points with a block and two steals.
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 five games, averaging 3.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals while averaging 21.6 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 in January, seeking an MBA from Loyola's nationally known program. And at the beginning of January, 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.
NEXT TIME OUT: A three-game road stretch concludes his afternoon and the Greyhounds will play three of its next four contests at home beginning Saturday night when it hosts Manhattan at 7 o'clock. After playing at Siena on February 9, Loyola will host Iona (February 13) and Canisius (February 16) during the stretch.