LOYOLA-SAINT PETER'S SERIES HISTORY: Saint Peter's leads the series, 38-31. The teams have split the last four contests with the home team winning on its own floor. The Greyhounds have won three of the last four in Reitz Arena. Of Loyola's nine MAAC opponents, the series with the Peacocks is its most played.
LAST TIME OUT: Iona made its first three shots to race out to an 8-0 lead and were never tied or headed in posting a 70-62 MAAC home win Sunday afternoon over the Greyhounds. Loyola trailed 40-26 at the half and worked back into the game, trailing by three on two occassions but could get no closer. Sophomore guard J'hared Hall led all scorers with 14 points off the bench and senior forward Jawaan Wright matched his career high with 13 points, making four of his five shots from the field and five free throws.
JESUIT BASKETBALL SPOTLIGHT: Tonight's game against Saint Peter's is part of the Jesuit Basketball Spotlight which uses Jesuit basketball to raise awareness of Jesuit education. Both Loyola and Saint Peter's 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.
STARTING, COMING OFF BENCH - EITHER IS JUST FINE WITH HALL: Since starting four straight games while senior guard Brett Harvey was out with an injury, the confidence gained by sophomore guard J'hared Hall has continued as he is currently coming off the bench. Receiving his first start this season in the Marist home game, Hall entered the contest averaging 2.5 points per game and bettered that by draining a three-pointer on the first shot of the game. He had 10 points by halftime and his three-pointer with 71 seconds remaining gave Loyola a 66-58 lead en route to scoring a career-high 16 points. His five three-pointers in that outing equaled the 16th-best performance in school history. In the win at Rider, he entered the game with the Greyhounds trailing 15-4 and promptly made four three-pointers to ignite 16 straight Loyola points and a 20-15 lead. He finished with 14 points, all in the first half. Given significant minutes over the last nine games, he is averaging 11.0 points while shooting 47.4 percent (36-76) from the field and 46.8 percent (22-47) from three-point range in 26.2 minutes played over that time period.
WRIGHT ADDS BENCH PUNCH: Before starting the home game against Niagara, senior forward Jawaan Wright had come up big off the bench during a five-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 at Marist. He matched his career high with 13 points Sunday at Iona, making four of his five shots from the field to go along with five free throws. For his last eight games coming off the bench, he has averaged 7.8 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 61.1 percent (22-36) from the floor in 18.8 minutes.
HARVEY RETURNS TO STARTING LINEUP: After finally returning to the lineup in the January 23 game at Marist, senior guard Brett Harvey has been back in the starting lineup the last five games and averaged 13.6 points in those contests. Loyola played all but 20 minutes without its senior captain over a six-game stretch. Before missing the Siena home game on January 4, 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. He reached 1,000 career points during a season-high 28-point effort at Canisius in December, 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. He moved into second place all-time in games played with his appearance Sunday at Iona.
WALKER COLLECTS CONSECUTIVE DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Sophomore forward Shane Walker recorded his second straight double-double and the third of his career with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the win at Manhattan. He scored 12 points and grabbed a career-high 12 boards in the win over Rider to open the weekend road trip. His first double-double came during a 14-point, 11-rebound outing in the win at Dartmouth. His 39 blocked shots on the season is the sixth highest number in school annals and he rejected six shots in the home win over Marist, equaling the sixth-best single-game number in school history. Third on the team in scoring (8.4 ppg), he is the team's leading rebounder at 6.6 boards per game.
OLSON'S AMONG MAAC'S TOP FRESHMEN: 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. In that game, 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 six of his last 11 games - the only six double-figure scoring outings of his career - while averaging 9.2 points and shooting 40.5 percent (34-84) from the field and 87.0 percent (20-23) from the foul line. In both of Loyola's wins two weekends ago, he scored key baskets. At Rider, he rebounded his own missed three-pointer and scored on a layup for a 77-73 lead with 100 seconds remaining and the Broncs would not score again. Then, at Manhattan, he was the option on a set play out of a timeout and swished a 14-footer from inside the foul line with a minute left for a 56-52 lead. He added a pair of free throws following a Jaspers miss for a six-point advantage with 45.5 ticks remaining. 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.
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 in the road 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 10.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists while shooting 41.5 percent (34-82) in 32.5 minutes played over the 11 games. He scored six points with six assists and five rebounds against just one turnover in the win at Manhattan. He and teammate Brett Harvey rank fifth and seventh all-time in career assists.
LEWIS IS A SUPER-SUB: Senior guard Tony Lewis provided a much-needed lift in the home game with Fairfield, matching his season-high with 14 points off the bench. He connected on five of his six tries from the field, including a pair of three-pointers, and both of his free throws. He also added three assists, two rebounds and a blocked shot in just 19 minutes. The effort was the second time in five games that he had reached double figures. He averaged 6.4 points and 3.4 rebounds and shooting 61.1 percent (11-18) from the field, 57.1 percent (4-7) from three-point range and 75.0 percent (6-8) from the foul line while playing 14.2 minutes per game over that stretch. He played a key role in the win at Manhattan during one trip down the floor, stealing a defensive rebound away to continue a Loyola possession that ended in a clear out on which he banked in a driving layup for a 53-50 Greyhounds lead with 2:09 remaining.
BARNEY RETURNS: Junior guard Jamal Barney made his return to the lineup at Rider, scoring two points with two assists in nine minutes. He followed that with seven points, two steals and an assist at Manhattan. The MAAC's leading scorer last season, he had missed six straight games. Before his extended absence, he had scored in double figures in 10 consecutive games, averaging 15.5 points during that stretch and was named the MAAC Player of the Week after scoring 28 points to lead Loyola to an 85-51 win over Howard in December.
BROOKS HAS CAREER GAME: Not starting in the home game with Niagara for the first time in his career, freshman forward Julius Brooks responded with a career game. He matched his career-high for rebounds with eight and established a new career-high for scoring with 10 points, including making four of his six free-throw attempts. Previously, four times this season he had scored eight points in a game and he first grabbed eight boards in the win at Dartmouth. He has started the remaining 21 of his appearances this season, not dressing for the game at Niagara with an illness. In his last seven games, he is averaging 4.9 points and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 46.7 percent (14-30) in 19.7 minutes played. His 4.1 rebounding average ranks third on the team.
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 when the Greyhounds hosted Siena in January.
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. He had similar numbers in his second appearance of the season Sunday at Iona.
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, nine lineups have been tested out with three newcomers - sophomore forward Shane Walker and freshmen Julius Brooks and Robert Olson - among the starting five 20 times.
DOUBLE-FIGURES QUINTET LEADS TO WIN: For the first time since January 2009, five Loyola players reached double figures in the win at Rider. Senior guard Brett Harvey (15), sophomore guard J'hared Hall (14), junior guard Brian Rudolph (12), sophomore forward Shane Walker (12) and freshman guard Robert Olson (10) all reached double digits in the win over the Broncs. Senior forward Jawaan Wright just missed making it six players, finishing with eight points, and freshman forward Julius Brooks tallied seven in a balanced Greyhounds attack. The last time previous that Loyola put five players in double figures was the 83-73 home win over Marist on January 18, 2009. In that game, Jamal Barney (22), Marquis Sullivan (17), Harvey (13), Wright (13) and Rudolph (11) accounted for all but seven of Loyola's points.
FIRST-HALF SHOOTING PAVES THE WAY: For the ninth time this season, the Greyhounds shot better than 50 percent in the first half when they connected on 56.0 percent (14-25) in the win at Rider. That made three straight road game that Loyola had topped 50 percent in the first half. The Greyhounds are 7-2 in those nine games with the losses at No. 8 West Virginia and at Siena.
BRACKETBUSTERS OPPONENT ANNOUNCED: Earlier this month, the Greyhounds found out that New Hampshire would be visiting Reitz Arena for a contest as part of the February BracketBusters event. Loyola will host the Wildcats Saturday at 1 o'clock at which time the Greyhounds will celebrate Senior Day. Loyola is 3-1 in February games during the event and a perfect 2-0 at home. Having played three of the return games, the Greyhounds are 5-2 overall in matchups derived from the BracketBusters event.
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 39 blocks through 25 games and two other players have 19 or more. Walker recorded six blocks in the home win over Marist and senior forward Jawaan Wright collected four rejections 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, Marist and Thursday against Fairfield. The Greyhounds blocked 29 shots in a recent four-game stretch, an average of 7.3 blocks per game.
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.
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.
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 1138-1177 (.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: Seven Loyola contests received national or regional television exposure this season and that number could swell to as many as 10 with advancement through the MAAC Tournament. The Greyhounds' final televised contest was Sunday and Loyola completed the regular season with a 5-2 record in those games. Television is planned for all MAAC Championship games beginning with Saturday's quarterfinals.
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 after tonight is Saturday when the Greyhounds host New Hampshire at 1 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 Saturday when Loyola hosts New Hampshire at 1 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: After tonight's contest, just three games remain with all of those being played in Reitz Arena. Next up is the final non-conference contest of the season as the Greyhounds host New Hampshire Saturday at 1 o'clock in a game made up from the pool of teams under consideration for the ESPN BracketBusters event. Loyola returns to MAAC play on February 26 when it hosts Canisius and concludes the regular season on February 28 by entertaining Manhattan.