March 1, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Loyola University Maryland men's basketball continued to add to its growing list of firsts for the 2011-2012 season on Thursday night when eighth-year Head Coach Jimmy Patsos was named the The Rock/Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
Patsos was honored at the MAAC Postseason Awards Show at the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Loyola sophomore guard Justin Drummond (Bowie, Md./Riverdale Baptist H.S.) earned MAAC Sixth-Man of the Year honors, as well, becoming the second Greyhound in as many years and fifth in eight seasons to win the awards. Four other Patsos-coaches players - Charlie Bell (2005), Michael Tuck (2007), Marquis Sullivan (2008) and J'hared Hall (2011) - previously earned the award.
Both awards are voted on by the league's coaches.
Patsos guided the Greyhounds to their first 20-win season at the NCAA Division I level - Loyola became a Division I school in 1981-1982 - and a program record 13 wins in MAAC play.
"I am very proud of Justin Drummond and our whole team. You can't win a coach of the year award without having a great team surrounding you," Patsos said. "This is a tremendous basketball league, and there are so many great coaches. I feel humbled and honored to win this award."
The Greyhounds enter the MAAC Championships with a 21-8 overall record as the No. 2 seed. Loyola finished second during the regular-season in MAAC play, its best-ever finish.
Early in the season, Patsos earned his 100th career victory as a collegiate head coach. He became the second Division I head coach in the last 20 years to inherit a team that had won zero or one game the year prior to his arrival and then earn 100 wins at the school. The Greyhounds were 1-27 in 2003-2004 the year before Patsos left the University of Maryland after 13 seasons as Gary Williams' assistant to become head coach at Loyola.
This year, the Patsos-led Greyhounds reached and surpassed several milestones. Loyola won 20 games for the first time since 1948-1949, tied a school Division I mark with eight non-conference wins, had the two longest winning streaks (eight and seven) in Division I history and recorded the first back-to-back sellouts of Reitz Arena since the venue opened in 1984.
Loyola showed its moxie this season, going 5-2 in games decided by five points or less and winning five times when trailing at halftime and twice when down with five minutes to play.
The Greyhounds also entered this week tied for third nationally with 11 wins away from Reitz Arena. Patsos and Loyola also won three games this season after trailing by 11 or more points.
Drummond came off the bench in all but four games and led all non-starters in the conference in scoring. Earlier this week, he was the only non-starter in the conference to be named an All-MAAC selection, garnering third team honors.
A MAAC All-Rookie Team member last year, Drummond has averaged 11.2 points per game this season, and he is third on the team in rebounding with a 4.2 boards per game mark.
The sophomore from Bowie, Md., has scored in double-figures 15 times throughout the season, including a team-high 13-point effort against Manhattan yesterday that helped the Greyhounds defeat the Jaspers by two and clinch the No. 2 spot in the MAAC Championships.
Drummond has improved his free-throw percentage by more than 10 points since his freshman season. This year, he is second on the team at 75.9-percent, making 82-of-108, after shooting just 65.2-percent from the stripe last year.
Patsos, Drummond and the Greyhounds open the MAAC Championships on Saturday when they take on the winner of an opening round game to be played tomorrow between Niagara University and Canisius College. The teams will take the court at the MassMutual Center at 7:30 p.m. in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN3.