Feb. 27, 2008
THE GAME: Both ends of the MAAC standings spectrum are represented tonight in the final conference home game of the season for the Greyhounds. Loyola has won three straight and 10 of 12 and sits in a four-way tie for first place in the conference standings. Canisius has lost five straight league games and eight of its last nine MAAC encounters and is in last place. The Greyhounds have won 10 games at Reitz Arena this season and can equal the best home winning percentage since the program elevated to Division I. The Golden Griffins have lost all 14 of their games away from home thus far this season and 17 straight true road games dating back to last year.
THE COACHES: Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos is in his fourth season and is just the eighth coach in Loyola's 98-season history to be on the sidelines for 100 or more games. On January 26, he became the sixth coach at Loyola to collect 50 career victories and now has a 56-60 (.483) career record. The 1989 Catholic graduate is 6-2 against Canisius. Canisius head coach Tom Parrotta is in his second season at Canisius and has a 17-41 (.293) career record. The 1991 Fordham graduate has an 0-3 mark against the Greyhounds.
THE TEAMS: There are no teams outside of MAAC competitors that appear on the schedules of both teams. Both of Canisius' conference wins came in situations where Loyola suffered losses - at home to both Niagara and Fairfield.
THE SERIES: Canisius leads the series, 29-17, although Loyola has won the last three and five straight in the regular season. The Greyhounds' current three-game winning streak is their longest in the series. Loyola has won six of the last eight to snap the five-game winning stretch of Canisius, its longest in the history.
THE PROGRAM: Loyola is playing its 98th recorded season of basketball this season. The first season was 1908-09 and the Greyhounds have posted a 1111-1141 (.493) all-time record. The College announced recently its plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first season of Loyola basketball November 14-16, 2008.
LAST TIME OUT: Junior guard Marquis Sullivan's three-pointer with just under two minutes remaining gave Loyola a lead it would not relinquish and sophomore guard Brett Harvey made four straight free throws in the final 16.5 seconds to secure a 67-64 non-conference home victory Saturday over UC Davis. Senior guard Gerald Brown led Loyola with 16 points and senior forward Michael Tuck tallied 13 and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Sullivan finished with 14 points and Harvey added 12. Freshman guard Brian Rudolph handed out eight assists and matched his career high with eight rebounds while playing 36 minutes.
RUDOLPH NAMED MAAC ROW FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT WEEK AND SIXTH OVERALL: Freshman guard Brian Rudolph picked up his sixth MAAC Rookie of the Week award February 25, the fourth straight week he has been honored. The 5-11 guard averaged 7.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 9.0 assists in helping the Greyhounds to a 2-0 week. His career-high 10th assist against Rider gave Loyola a lead it would not relinquish with 71 seconds remaining and his layup with the shot clock expiring made the game a two-possession game with 17 ticks left. He followed that by scoring six straight points to help the Greyhounds overcome a five-point deficit and handed out eight assists and matched his career best with eight rebounds in the win over UC Davis. Rudolph shared the award with Canisius' Greg Logins. His six ROW honors is the top total in the league and all six have come on conference weekends.
GREYHOUNDS ASSURED OF WINNING RECORD: The win Saturday over UC Davis assured Loyola that it will finish better than .500 for the third straight season, the longest stretch since the Greyhounds posted four straight winning records between 1982-83 and 1986-87 - more than two decades ago. The 17 regular-season wins matched last season's Division I high. An 18th regular-season win will match the same number of wins posted prior to the postseason by the 1948-49 team that finished at 25-8 with seven postseason wins. The school record for regular-season wins is the 21 collected by the 1947-48 squad en route to a 24-7 final mark.
LOYOLA ENJOYS HOME COOKING: Saturday's home win over UC Davis was the 10th for the Greyhounds in Reitz Arena against just two losses. The 10 home wins are the most since the 1986-87 edition finished 10-4 in Reitz Arena. The 1984-85 team posted a 12-3 home record in the initial season of Reitz Arena for the highest win total and the 1983-84 squad posted a winning percentage of .846 with its 11-2 record in the final season of Evergreen Gym for the best home winning percentage in Division I.
GREYHOUNDS REMAINS PERFECT IN BRACKETBUSTERS: With their 67-64 win Saturday over UC Davis, the Greyhounds remained perfect in matchups coming from the pool of teams under consideration for selection for the BracketBusters television appearances. In 2006, the Greyhounds hosted High Point and recorded a come-from-behind 77-71 victory. Last season, Loyola raced out to a 36-22 halftime lead at Tennessee State and held on for a 62-60 win.
LOYOLA CLINCHES FIRST-ROUND BYE: With their win at Siena, the Greyhounds have clinched a bye into the quarterfinals of the conference tournament and will play their first game on Saturday, March 8. This is the second straight year Loyola has been able to receive a bye out of the first round. Loyola's 11 MAAC wins also assures the Greyhounds a winning conference record for the fifth time ever and marks the fourth time in 19 years that Loyola has won 10 or more MAAC games. Last year's 12 conference wins is the school record for MAAC play.
GREYHOUNDS AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS: Loyola is represented in several categories among the nation's statistical leaders. In NCAA-released statistics for games played through February 24, sophomore guard Brett Harvey is seventh in assist/turnover ratio and 72nd in free-throw percentage, junior guard Marquis Sullivan is ranked 53rd in three-point field-goal percentage and 77th in three-point field goals made per game, senior guard Gerald Brown is ranked 55th in scoring average and senior forward Omari Isreal is 69th in blocked shots. In team statistics, the Greyhounds are sixth nationally in free-throw percentage, 52nd in three-point field goals made per game, 102nd in field-goal percentage defense, 110th in three-point field-goal percentage and 104th in assists per game.
TUCK RECORDS FOURTH DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Senior forward Michael Tuck collected his fourth double-double of the season and the ninth of his career with 15 points and 11 rebounds in the overtime win at Siena. He played 44 of the possible 45 minutes in the game. His 15 points boosted him above 900 for his career, making him the seventh Greyhounds player to reach 900 career points (940) and 500 rebounds (589). He has scored in double digits in 11 of his last 13 games with a stretch of four 20-plus outings over five games during that span and five total games of 20 or more. Loyola has won 10 of the 12 games he has taken more than 10 shots, including each of the last seven. After starting the year making just 11 of his first 24 free-throw attempts (.458), he has made 35 of his last 41 (.854) over the last 11 games.
BROWN HAS EXPLOSIVE WEEK: Senior guard Gerald Brown found his scoring touch from February 5-10, tallying 92 points in the three games over the six-day period to raise his scoring average one-and-a-half points from 17.9 to 19.4. His 30-point outing at Niagara was his first 30-plus effort in two months and he followed that two days later with 33 to match his career-best in the home win over Saint Peter's. In the rematch with the Purple Eagles, he scored 29. In five games against Niagara over the last two years, he has averaged 28.4 points while making 91.5 percent from the free-throw line (43-47). His numbers from that three-game scoring spree are a 30.7 scoring average while shooting 45.6 percent from the field (26-57), 44.0 percent from three-point range (11-25) and 80.6 percent from the free-throw line (29-36). He recently broke into the top 20 all-time in scoring at Loyola and is 19th with 1,188 points in 58 career games. He tallied just nine before fouling out in the win at Siena, the fourth game this season he has failed to reach double figures. Loyola has won all four of those contests.
HARVEY REFINDS SCORING TOUCH: Sophomore guard Brett Harvey has relocated the scoring touch that evaded him for a recent three-game stretch. He tallied 19 points while playing 43 minutes to lead the Greyhounds in the overtime win at Siena, followed that with 10 points in the Rider win and scored 12 against UC Davis for his fifth straight contest in double digits. Those efforts came after matching his career-high with 20 points - all in the second half - against Niagara. He first scored 20 at Fairfield when he was shifted to the starter at shooting guard to make room for freshman point guard Brian Rudolph. He is averaging 14.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists over 31.8 minutes per game while shooting 48.7 percent from the floor (19-39), 50.0 percent from three-point range (12-24) and 88.9 percent from the free-throw line (24-27) over his last five games.
RUDOLPH RESPONDS TO STARTING ROLE: Freshman guard Brian Rudolph was moved back into the starting lineup at Fairfield and has responded. Loyola has won 11 of the 14 games since and 15 of the Greyhounds' 17 wins have come with Rudolph in the starting lineup. He a five-time MAAC Rookie of the Week and won the award three straight times (February 4-18), all five of those coming during conference play. His 15 points at Siena was a career high and he scored nine of those in the overtime, including seven straight to build an eight-point lead. He added eight rebounds to match his career best and also handed out five assists. He is averaging 8.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists while playing 32.8 minutes a game and shooting 47.0 percent from the field (39-83), 35.5 percent from three-point (11-31) and 76.7 percent from the free-throw line (33-43) in the 14 games since returning to the starting lineup.
ISREAL CONTINUES SOLID PLAY AT HOME: Senior forward Omari Isreal has taken advantage of his home surroundings of late. After setting a career-high with five blocks to go along with six points and five rebounds against Saint Peter's, he scored 13 points with seven rebounds against Niagara then scored nine points with two blocks against Rider. Over his last five games, he has averaged 30.8 minutes played, 9.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks while shooting 62.5 percent (20-32) from the floor. His 48 blocks this season is the third-best Greyhounds single-season total on record and he has 69 career blocks in 51 games. He has been impressive in games played at Reitz Arena, averaging 9.9 points and 6.3 rebounds in 20 career home games while helping the Greyhounds to a 15-5 record in those games. This season, he has averaged 9.1 points and 5.7 boards in 11 games at Reitz. He missed the Senior Day game against UC Davis and will be honored prior to tonight's contest.
SULLIVAN EXCELLING OFF THE BENCH: Junior guard Marquis Sullivan has taken to his renewed role off the bench. In 20 games out of the starting lineup, he has scored in double figures 16 times, including a stretch of eight games that was snapped against Niagara. At Canisius, he entered the game and made three-pointers on four consecutive possessions to give the Greyhounds a lead they would not relinquish. The third of those tied the career mark for three-pointers held by Jason Rowe (1996-2000) and the fourth at the 12:15 mark of the first half gave Sullivan the record by himself with 187. He now has 201. He remains second behind Rowe (540) in three-point shot attempts (495). In 12 home games, he has reached double digits 10 times - scoring nine in an 11th outing - and is averaging 12.8 points while shooting 47.0 percent from the field (55-117) and 45.6 percent from three-point range (36-79). Fittingly, his final three-pointer against Siena broke the school record for three-pointers by the Greyhounds in a game as they finished with 18 and he followed that by leading all scorers with 23 points in the win at Manhattan. Sullivan was back in the starting lineup at New Jersey Institute for Gerald Brown and he scored 13 points to make his that stretch nine straight in double figures. He enters today 89 points away from 1,000 for his career.
MANNING'S THREE SENDS SIENA GAME TO OVERTIME: Senior guard Greg Manning entered the game at Siena for the first time with 16 seconds remaining and the Greyhounds down three and eight seconds later he swished a baseline jumper from in front of the Loyola bench to knot the score and send the contest to overtime. He later played a pair of three-second segments in an offense-defense switch and converted both shots of a two-shot foul for five points in just 14 seconds. His last three-pointer prior to that shot was Loyola's 18th of the game against the Saints to complete a school record. Earlier this season, he scored 10 points in 11 minutes at then No. 3 Kansas.
FOFANA PLAYS SEASON HIGH 20 MINUTES: Senior center Hassan Fofana played a season-high 20 minutes in the home Niagara game and has seen his minutes increase gradually as he continues his recovery from an injury suffered in December. In those 20 minutes, he made his only field goal, grabbed five rebounds, handed out two assists and blocked two shots. He is averaging 4.1 rebounds while playing 12.8 minutes over the last eight games.