March 3, 2004
Albany, N.Y. - The Loyola men's basketball team begins a new season this Friday afternoon in Albany, N.Y. The regular-season records are out the window and high hopes once again surface with the 2004 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) basketball tournament. Loyola and Rider kick off the madness with a 4:30 p.m. tip at the Pepsi Arena.
The Greyhounds enter the conference tournament with a No. 10 seed. Loyola, 1-26 in the regular season, faces a Rider team it has had success with in the past. The Broncs are this year's No. 5 seed after claiming a 16-13 regular-season record.
Rider took both regular season meetings, but the Greyhounds were in both games. In their most recent meeting (Feb. 8 at Rider), Loyola led 24-23 at halftime. Freshman Shane James, who was named the MAAC All-Rookie team earlier this week, scored 16 points, but an early second-half spurt carried the Broncs to a 58-51 win.
The Greyhounds are the No. 10 seed for the second straight season and have dropped their last two MAAC tournament games. Rider has lost its last three tournament contests and is 2-6 all time in postseason MAAC play.
Leading the 'Hounds this season, sophomore Charlie Bell averaged 14.9 points per game. He also led Loyola with 35 steals and 57 three-point field goals. James, who ran the point all season, led the team with 80 assists and a .417 three-point field goal percentage.
Friday's game can be seen live on FOX-NY television. The winner will play St. Peter's on Saturday, March 6 at 5 p.m.