March 23, 2010
Baltimore, Md. - The 2009-2010 Loyola men's basketball season offered plenty of highlights as the team looked with one eye to the future while celebrating a senior guard who leaves Loyola with his name scattered throughout the record book.
Despite a second straight early exit from the MAAC Championship, this year's edition of the Greyhounds recorded double-digit victories for the fifth consecutive season - the first time that has happened since the program went Division I in 1981-82.
A player who was around for the last four of those seasons was Brett Harvey. The 6-1 guard concluded his Greyhounds career being a part of 62 wins over his four-year career and was the starting guard on two Loyola teams that establish marks for Division I victories.
Those wins only tell part of the story. Harvey graduates in May as he all-time leader in games played (121), 20th in career scoring (1,208), second all-time in career free-throw percentage (86.4), third in career three-point field goals made (174) and sixth all-time in assists (374). As a junior, he led all of Division I in free-throw percentage (91.0) and followed that by making 89.0 percent this season.
Despite all those eye-popping numbers, Harvey will be remembered best for his role in the most historic regular-season victory in the 100-season history of the program.
Undaunted by the five National Championship banners that were hanging in Indiana's Assembly Hall and the 11,321 in attendance there to see another Hoosiers victory, the Greyhounds scored the first 15 points of the game, held a 29-7 advantage with nine minutes left in the first half and led 46-28 at the half.
In just over 16 minutes, the Big 10's Hoosiers had wiped away that deficit and led 65-62 with 3:48 remaining. That's where Harvey took over as he would score nine of Loyola's points during a 10-2 run to end the game and seal a 72-67 Greyhounds victory. Down 67-65, he converted his second four-point play of the half to give Loyola the lead for good and added two free throws with 17.1 seconds left to ice the game. He finished with a game-high 25 points, making seven of 11 from the floor and eight of nine from the line.
The win at Indiana came on the heels of one of the greatest shooting efforts in the history of the program three days earlier. While most of the Mid-Atlantic was snowed in by a historic overnight snowfall, the Greyhounds hosted Howard that afternoon and if they were bothered by the cold, they didn't show it.
Leading by just three early in the second half, Loyola went on a blistering 37-5 run that included 24 straight points and making 14 straight field-goal attempts over a period of 10 minutes. When the final numbers were calculated, the Greyhounds had posted Reitz Arena records for field-goal percentage (69.6) and three-point percentage (75.0), both marks that ranked second in the history of the program.
Those wins started the Greyhounds on a four-game winning streak that provided to be the longest of the season. An injury suffered by Harvey in early January combined with the absence of two more starters (Jamal Barney, Anthony Winbush) by the middle of the month had Loyola putting a starting lineup on the floor without a senior and just one junior (Brian Rudolph).
The inexperience in a conference dominated by seniors caught up to the Greyhounds as they finished eighth for the second consecutive season. Loyola swept MAAC foes Manhattan, Marist and Rider during the regular season, but was swept by the remaining six members to finish at 6-12.
Forced to play in a MAAC Opening Round game for the second straight season, Loyola allowed the Jaspers 51 first-half points and could not recover despite sophomore forward Shane Walker scoring 24 of his team-high 26 points after the intermission. When the buzzer sounded on Manhattan's 94-79 win, the drapes were drawn on the 2009-2010 campaign.
In addition to the highlights mentioned previously, here are a few more of the team and individual accomplishments that took place during the season:
The 13 three-point field goals made in the home win over Marist equaled the third-highest total in school history.
Sophomore guard J'hared Hall made five three-pointers in that win over the Red Foxes and finished the season at 40.7 percent from behind the arc, the 10th-best single-season total at Loyola.
In addition to the 75.0 percent from three-point range in the win over Howard, Loyola posted two other three-point shooting efforts that rank among the top 20 in history. The Greyhounds shot 56.3 percent in the season-opening win over America East champion Vermont and later shot 55.6 percent in their win at Rider.
The shooting wasn't just limited to long-range as the team free-throw percentage of 69.9 percent ranks seventh all-time. In fact, each of the last four seasons under head coach Jimmy Patsos are among the top seven in school history.
Loyola blocked the second-most shots all-time, rejecting 132 for the season. There were six games of seven or more and Walker recorded six blocks in the home win over Marist. He finished with 46 for the season, the fifth-best single-season number. Senior forward Jawaan Wright ended his Loyola career with 76 blocked shots, third all-time at the school.
Junior guard Brian Rudolph ended the season with 395 career assists, good for fourth all-time. He has a shot at the school's all-time mark of 538 compiled by Tracy Bergan (1989-94).
Both freshman guard Robert Olson and Winbush collected six steals in a game, matching the fifth-best single-game mark. Olson performed his feat in the win at UMBC in just his third-ever game while Winbush matched that with six thefts in the win at Indiana.