THE GAME: After a six-game winning streak, Loyola has dropped two straight after Saturday's 72-65 home loss to Manhattan. Siena had its eight-game winning streak halted Saturday with a 90-88 loss at Rider.
THE COACHES: Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos enters his fifth season and has registered a 69-76 (.476) career record. The victory at Marist moved him into fifth place all-time in wins at Loyola. The 1989 Catholic graduate is 5-5 against the Saints. Siena head coach Fran McCaffery is in his fourth season with the Saints and sports a 76-42 (.664) record at the school. In his 13th season as a head coach, he has a 215-168 (.561) career mark. The 1982 Pennsylvania graduate is 4-4 against the Greyhounds.
THE TEAMS: Outside of conference foes, the only team that appears on the schedules of both teams is Cornell. Loyola lost to the Big Red in the East Bracket consolation of the NIT Season Tip-Off and Siena topped Cornell in a home game. Among conference foes, both teams swept Marist and won a home game over Saint Peter's and at Manhattan. The Saints swept Fairfield while the Greyhounds were swept by the Stags. Siena won a home game over Niagara and at Saint Peter's while Loyola suffered defeats in those matchups. The Greyhounds won at Rider while the Saints collected their lone MAAC defeat in the Broncs' home gym.
THE SERIES: Siena leads the series, 32-15, and has won two straight after snapping a four-game Greyhounds winning streak in the MAAC Championship Semifinals last March. Loyola has won two straight in the regular season at the Times Union Center, both come-from-behind overtime victories. Current Greyhounds assistant coach Greg Manning came off the bench cold to sink a three-pointer with eight seconds remaining to knot the game and sent it to overtime and sophomore guard Brian Rudolph took over in the extra session with seven straight points to lead Loyola to the 83-76 win. Rudolph finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, junior guard Brett Harvey led the Greyhounds with 19 points and senior guard Marquis Sullivan added 10 points off the bench.
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 1125-1158 (.493) all-time record during the time.
LAST TIME OUT: The Greyhounds made just 18 of 31 free-throw attempts and Manhattan used a 14-5 run over the final eight minutes of the first half to snap a 17-all tie to gain a lead it would not relinquish in the Jaspers' 72-65 win in Reitz Arena Saturday night. Both teams made 20 field goals and Loyola held Manhattan without a three-pointer, but the Jaspers held a decisive 32-18 advantage at the free-throw line despite having just six more attempts. The Greyhounds scored 16 of 20 points to turn a 13-point deficit into one, trailing 61-60 with 1:27 remaining. But the Jaspers tallied seven of nine foul shots to end the game on an 11-5 stretch to seal the victory. Senior guard Marquis Sullivan made five three-pointers off the bench for a team-high 15 points while senior forward Brad Farrell scored a season-high 12 points, a total matched by sophomore guard Jamal Barney, and junior guard Brett Harvey added 11 points off the bench.
LOYOLA RECEIVES BRACKETBUSTER OPPONENT: The Greyhounds will be traveling to Philadelphia to play Drexel University on February 21 at 5 o'clock as part of their commitment to the pool of teams under consideration for a BracketBusters televised matchup. A member of the Colonial Athletic Association, the Dragons had a seven-game winning streak snapped at Delaware Tuesday night and have dropped two straight for a 12-10 overall record. Loyola is a perfect 3-0 in the February matchups in its three years in the event and 2-1 in the return games for a 5-1 record after its 95-89 win at UC Davis in December. The only loss was a road return game played just after the break for exams, dropping a 63-57 decision at High Point in December 2006.
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. Since holding Duke to 1-of-12 shooting, Loyola has put together 13 games in which opponents are making just 24.6 percent (44-179) from three-point territory. Twice the Greyhounds have pitched a three-point shutout and three other times only one three-point shot was successful. Entering the game with the Blue Devils, Greyhounds opponents had been successful 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 18 of the 19 contests that followed, the only blip being an eight-point outing at Duke. In 12 of those 19, 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 9.0 points since going scoreless in a November game against Cornell. Through games of February 5, he is ranked 41st nationally in scoring. He also is averaging 5.5 rebounds, lifting his average 2.0 boards per outing since that game with the Big Red. Since he moved into the starting lineup 21 games ago, he is averaging 20.5 points and 5.9 rebounds a game while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor (158-369) and 78.4 percent from the free-throw line (91-116). In 16 of those 21 starts, he has scored in double figures after the intermission and more than 15 points seven of those 16 times, including five instances in the last nine contests. He boasts a 12.2 scoring average after halftime as a starter. 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 this season. 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 166 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 against the Red Foxes, he was fouled on a three-point shot attempt and made all three free throws and then did it again at Rider. Through games of February 6, he is ranked second nationally in free-throw percentage and is one of nine 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 13.9 points over his last 12 games while shooting 41.7 percent (25-60) 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 three of his last six games after not missing a shot from the field en route to 12 points in the win at Rider and then following with 12 points at Fairfield. He also grabbed seven rebounds against the Broncs. He is averaging 7.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds while shooting 42.2 percent (35-83) from the floor in the 16 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 20 in career scoring with his 15 points Saturday and now has 1,162 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. 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 has remained. Playing a season-high 28 minutes, he made three field goals for a six points and added three rebounds, one assist and a steal. He has started seven 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. Saturday at Manhattan, he posted his first double-digit scoring effort with 12 points, including a perfect four of four from the free-throw line. He added five rebounds, three assists, three steals and a blocked shot.
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 seven games, averaging 2.4 points and 4.7 rebounds while averaging 19.7 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 field goal and his only shot taken this season came during his start at Duke, but his rebounding and screening was game-changing. He made both of his free-throw attempts at Fairfield for his first points on the season.
SPREADING THE SCORING: Although sophomore guard Jamal Barney has taken much of the scoring load of late, through 25 games six different players have posted team-high scoring honors thus far. Barney has led the team 16 times, senior guard Marquis Sullivan four times, 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).
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 victories 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.
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.
NEXT TIME OUT: After tonight, the Greyhounds will play three straight conference games at Reitz Arena starting with Friday's contest with Iona, the first time the Gaels and Greyhounds will meet this season. One week from tonight, Loyola will host Canisius and the home schedule will conclude with a February 26 visit by Rider. In between those last two games is a non-conference game at Drexel on February 21.