March 6, 2007
Baltimore, Md. - The list of accomplishments turned in by the men's basketball team this season is long, but all eyes will be on reaching higher ground next season as this year's junior-led team becomes seniors with their final chance to make a run at the MAAC Championship.
For the second straight season, an eligible transfer found his way among the conference's top scorers and landed a spot on the all-MAAC first team. The good news is that player, guard Gerald Brown, returns next season to once again lead the Greyhounds. He will be joined by guard Marquis Sullivan, an all-MAAC third-team selection, and MAAC Sixth Man of the Year Michael Tuck as top returnees on a team that is expected to have a minimum of nine letterwinners returning and a an eligible transfer (guard Joe Miles from Marshall), a medical redshirt (freshman guard Tony Lewis) and one early signee (Texas HS product Isaac Reid) added to the fold for next year.
The modest goal of back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since four straight winning campaigns were accomplished between 1983-87 was reached in mid-February and attention turned to acquiring a high seed at the MAAC Championship. That goal was reached and surpassed as were many others during a memorable season that has Greyhounds followers excited about the future.
Here's a list of accomplishments for the 2006-07 season:
The 18 wins established a record for Division I and is the highest win total since the 1970-71 team finished 19-7.
The 58.1 winning percentage is the highest since the 1978-79 team won 60.7 percent of its games (17-11).
The 12 MAAC wins are the most in school history, eclipsing the mark of 10 first established by the 1991-92 team (10-6) and matched by the 1996-97 squad (10-4).
The 66.7 MAAC winning percentage is the second highest in school history, bettered only by the 1996-97 team that won 71.4 percent of its contests (10-4).
The six MAAC road wins established a school record, bettering the four road wins first set in 1995-96 and equaled in 1996-97 and 1998-99.
By defeating Fairfield in the quarterfinals, the Greyhounds defeated each of its nine MAAC opponents during the season, the first time that has happened since the conference went to a 10-team configuration in the 1997-98 season. The 1991-92 team defeated each member of the nine-member MAAC in posting a 10-6 conference mark.
That quarterfinal win was the first postseason win for the program since it won an opening-round game over the Stags in the 2001 Championship.
Loyola reached the MAAC semifinals for just the third time in school history and the first time since the 1998 Championship where it also lost in the semifinals to the eventual champion, 69-58 to top-seeded Iona.
The 8-2 record (.800) during the month of January was the best-ever for the year's first month, bettering the seven wins posted by the 1993-94 Greyhounds and the 71.4 winning percentage registered by the 1995-96 team (5-2).
The 75-66 home win over Iona resulted in a new school record for blocked shots as the Greyhounds erased 10 Gaels shots to better the mark of nine first set in 1992 and equaled in 1997. Tuck led the team with a career-high four blocks while Brown and sophomore forward Jawaan Wright each chipped in with two. Later in the month, Loyola blocked nine shots in the 72-71 home win over Siena as junior forward Omari Isreal blocked a career-best four and Wright added another two.
The team record for successful three-point shots was equaled during the 95-73 home-finale victory over Rider as the Greyhounds made 13. That tied the mark set in 1996 and matched in 1998. Sullivan set a school record by making all six of his three-point attempts to better the mark of four.
In its second year of the event, Loyola defeated its opponent coming out of the games from the pool of teams under consideration for the ESPN BracketBusters event, this year winning 62-60 at Tennessee State. Last year, the Greyhounds collected a 77-71 home win over High Point.
The win over North Florida in the consolation round of the College Hoops Classic in Queens, N.Y., was the first victory for the Greyhounds in one of the five New York City boroughs since a 71-67 triumph at Manhattan in 1998-99.
This year's team swept the MAAC's New York City residents (Iona and Manhattan) on the road for the first time in school history.
Loyola placed multiple players among the all-league honorees for the first time since the 1997-98 season when it had a player honored on all three all-MAAC teams - Mike Powell on the first team, Jason Rowe on the second and Roderick Platt on the third.
While the contributions of departing seniors Josko Alujevic and Shane James will not be forgotten as they helped steer the program into its next phase with the hiring of Jimmy Patsos following the 1-27 season in 2003-04, the future continues to shine bright for the Greyhounds. Stay tuned as the next chapter of Loyola Basketball is written starting November 9, 2007.