March 1, 2008
THE GAME: Loyola enters today on a four-game winning streak and has won 11 of 13 since opening the season 7-10. Included in that is wins in five of its last six road contests. Marist snapped a three-game losing streak Friday night with its home win over Iona. The Red Foxes had lost six of seven entering the game and finished February with a 2-5 mark. The Greyhounds concluded the year's shortest month with a 6-2 record.
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 57-60 (.487) career record. The 1989 Catholic graduate is 3-4 against the Red Foxes. Marist head coach Matt Brady is in his fourth season and has a 71-48/ (.597) career record. The 1987 Siena graduate has a 4-3 mark against the Greyhounds.
THE TEAMS: There are no teams outside of MAAC competitors that appear on the schedules of both teams. Five of the situations within league play where the Red Foxes suffered defeats, Loyola was victorious - home games with Rider and Siena and games at Fairfield, Manhattan and Siena. Four of the situations where the Greyhounds lost games, Marist collected wins - home to Fairfield and Niagara and at Iona and Rider. The only game that both teams lost was their respective trips to Niagara.
THE SERIES: Marist leads the series, 26-16. The teams have alternated wins in the last six games and no team has swept the series since they met twice in January 2005 and the Red Foxes collected a pair of victories. The Greyhounds placed five players in double figures led by 24 points from senior guard Gerald Brown in posting an 83-71 win in Baltimore in January.
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 1112-1141 (.494) all-time record. The College announced 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 scored a career-high 28 points off the bench and senior guard Gerald Brown added 27 in his final Reitz Arena appearance and the Greyhounds never trailed in posting an 88-77 conference victory over Canisius Thursday night in the home finale. Sullivan scored 20 of his points in the first half, making six consecutive three-pointers. Brown and senior forward Michael Tuck combined to do the damage in the second half. Brown scored 19 points and Tuck tallied 14 of his 16 points after the intermission and the Greyhounds made 21 of 22 from the free-throw line to prevent the Golden Griffins from getting their deficit to under 10 points.
GREYHOUNDS HAVE FABULOUS FEBRUARY: Loyola ended the year's shortest month with its best record in more than a decade. The 6-2 mark in February equaled the team's record in 1997, a unit which started the season 2-10 and won 11 of its last 14 regular-season contests.
LOYOLA ENJOYS HOME COOKING: Thursday's home win over Canisius was the 11th for the Greyhounds in Reitz Arena against just two losses, equaling the best home winning percentage while competing at Division I. The 11-2 record (.846) matched the mark that the 1983-84 squad posted in the final season of Evergreen Gym. The Reitz Arena record for home wins is the 12 recorded in 15 games by the 1984-85 edition in the first season of use for the current facility.
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 18 regular-season wins establishes a school Division I high and matches the same number of wins posted prior to the postseason by the 1948-49 team that finished at 25-8 after 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.
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 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 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 12 MAAC wins equals the school record established last season and 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.
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 28, sophomore guard Brett Harvey is seventh in assist/turnover ratio and 72nd in free-throw percentage, junior guard Marquis Sullivan is ranked 39th in three-point field-goal percentage and 63rd in three-point field goals made per game, senior guard Gerald Brown is ranked 50th in scoring average and senior forward Omari Isreal is 71st in blocked shots. In team statistics, the Greyhounds are fifth nationally in free-throw percentage, 52nd in three-point field goals made per game, 100th in assists per game, 103rd in three-point field-goal percentage, 105th in field-goal percentage defense, 107th in scoring offense and 110th in won-lost percentage.
SULLIVAN EXCELLING OFF THE BENCH: Junior guard Marquis Sullivan has taken to his renewed role off the bench. In 21 games out of the starting lineup, he has scored in double figures 17 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 207. He remains second behind Rowe (540) in three-point shot attempts (503). In the 13 home games, he reached double digits 11 times - scoring nine in an 12th outing - and averaged 14.0 points while shooting 48.8 percent from the field (62-127) and 48.3 percent from three-point range (42-87). 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 that stretch nine straight in double figures. He scored 20 of his career-high 28 points against Canisius in the first half. He enters today 61 points away from 1,000 for his career.
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 18th with 1,215 points in 59 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.
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 (956) and 500 rebounds (594). He has scored in double digits in 12 of his last 14 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 11 of the 13 games in which he has taken more than 10 shots, including each of the last eight. After starting the year making just 11 of his first 24 free-throw attempts (.458), he has made 41 of his last 47 (.872) over the last 12 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 12 of the 15 games since and 16 of the Greyhounds' 18 wins have come with Rudolph in the starting lineup. He is a six-time MAAC Rookie of the Week and won the award four straight times (February 4-25), all six 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 8.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists while playing 33.0 minutes a game and shooting 46.8 percent from the field (44-94), 35.5 percent from three-point (11-31) and 76.6 percent from the free-throw line (36-47) in the 15 games since returning to the starting lineup.
ISREAL CONTINUES SOLID PLAY AT HOME: Senior forward Omari Isreal took advantage of his home surroundings during his career. 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 six games, he has averaged 29.8 minutes played, 8.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks while shooting 58.3 percent (21-36) from the floor. His 49 blocks this season is the third-best Greyhounds single-season total on record and he has 70 career blocks in 52 games. He has been impressive in games played at Reitz Arena, averaging 9.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in 21 career home games while helping the Greyhounds to a 16-5 record in those games. This season, he has averaged 8.7 points and 6.0 boards in 12 games at Reitz.
HARVEY REFINDS SCORING TOUCH: Sophomore guard Brett Harvey has relocated the scoring touch that evaded him for a 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 12.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists over 29.7 minutes per game while shooting 44.2 percent from the floor (19-43), 46.2 percent from three-point range (12-26) and 88.9 percent from the free-throw line (24-27) over his last six games.
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 4.0 rebounds while playing 12.8 minutes over the last nine games.