Nov. 15, 2007
Baltimore, Md. - Greyhounds fans Sunday have their last chance to catch the men's basketball team play at Reitz Arena until December 9 when Loyola hosts Vermont at 5:30 p.m. in a game televised live on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. The contest is the third straight at home for the Greyhounds and the home team has posted wins in each after Tuesday's 71-67 victory over American.
Vermont enters the contest in search of its first victory after losses at George Mason and Virginia last weekend. The Catamounts have played in the America East Championship Game the last two seasons under third-year coach Mike Lonergan and qualified for last season's National Invitation Tournament by virtue of its regular-season championship.
The game will be a bit of a homecoming for Lonergan who has roots deep in the Mid-Atlantic area. A 1988 graduate of Catholic University, he was a teammate and roommate of Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos. He returned to his alma mater as head coach in 1992 and led the Cardinals to the 2001 NCAA Division III National Championship among his nine NCAA Tournament appearances. When Patsos left the University of Maryland to take over the helm of the Greyhounds, Lonergan joined the Terrapins staff for the 2004-05 season before replacing the legendary Tom Brennan as the head coach at Vermont. He attended high school at Archbishop Carroll HS in Washington, D.C., the stop where Patsos got his coaching start when he graduated from Catholic.
Loyola has rebounded from the season-opening loss at Towson to win two straight, both of those coming at home giving the Greyhounds a three-game home winning streak dating back to last year. The home team needed 32 points from senior guard Gerald Brown to erase a 17-point first-half deficit in posting the win over the Eagles. Loyola won the battle of the boards with a 31-21 advantage and forced 18 turnovers. Including the 21 turnovers forced in Sunday's win over Pennsylvania, the Greyhounds are +12 in turnover margin in its two wins.
Expected to lead the Greyhounds this season, Brown's numbers have not disappointed. He is averaging 25.3 points in his three games while collecting 15 steals with 17 rebounds and 10 assists. The Baltimore native has been to the free-throw line 32 times thus far, making 27 for 84.4 percent. His 32 points was the sixth game in his career with 30-plus points and he has scored 25 or more points in six of his last eight games dating back to last season.
Loyola's other two double-figure scorers have each come off the bench twice while making just one start. Junior guard Marquis Sullivan started the opener and has scored 10 or more in all three games, averaging 13.0. He has made eight three-pointers, connecting on 42.1 of his attempts from that distance. Senior forward Michael Tuck started the middle game of the three and is averaging 12.3 points per outing. He is tied for second on the team in rebounding with Brown at 5.7 per game. The school's all-time leader in field-goal percentage, he is making 51.7 percent of his shots thus far.
Senior forward Omari Isreal is the only player besides Brown to start all three games and has started all 26 games in his Loyola career. The team's leading rebounder at 6.0 per game, he has 11 offensive rebounds and three blocks. Senior center Hassan Fofana registered two second-half blocks during Loyola's comeback against American and should see minutes to combat a pair of 6-10 players on the Catamounts' roster. Freshman forward Isaac Reid has yet to miss a shot in a game, totaling nine points with three field goals (one from three-point range) and two free throws.
The Greyhounds' backcourt has seen a rotation of players receive starts with only sophomore guard Brett Harvey and freshman Brian Rudolph being among the starting five more than once. Harvey was limited to just five minutes Tuesday, but collected nine assists against just one turnover in the win over Pennsylvania. Rudolph picked up the slack Tuesday, playing every minute of the second half, finishing with six points, six assists and five rebounds. Freshman Tony Lewis received his first start Tuesday and junior guard Joe Miles started the opener and is tied for fourth on the team in scoring at 7.0 points a game.
The three-game home stretch completed following the Vermont game, Loyola will play its next five away from Reitz Arena with the next three part of the Philly Hoop Group Classic. Tuesday, the Greyhounds visit Seton Hall and then move onto the Palestra in Philadelphia for a contest Friday with Howard and then Saturday against either Drexel or Robert Morris. Loyola will next play in Reitz Arena on December 9 when it hosts Manhattan in the MAAC home opener. Game time is slated for noon.