THE GAME: This afternoon is the final warm-up before a pair of conference games for the Greyhounds while the game is just another non-conference tilt for Vermont. Loyola split a pair of home games on the opening weekend and then won just one of its four games in the NIT Season Tip-Off. The Catamounts have alternated wins and losses through four contests, splitting its only two home games thus far.
THE COACHES: Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos enters his fifth season and has registered a 60-66 (.476) career record. The 1989 Catholic graduate is 1-0 against Vermont. Vermont head coach Mike Lonergan is in his fourth season with the Catamounts and sports a 72-57 (.558) record. In his 16th season as a college head coach, his career record is 323-145 (.690). The 1988 Catholic graduate is 0-1 against the Greyhounds. The two coaches were suitemates at Catholic along with New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
THE TEAMS: Only one non-conference foe appears on the schedules of both teams as each will host New Jersey Institute in January. Should Vermont square off against Coppin State in the Rainbow Classic, that would be a second common opponent for each as Loyola will host the Eagles on December 10.
THE SERIES: Loyola leads the series, 2-0. The first meeting came in the consolation game of the 1969 Scranton Invitational with the Greyhounds prevailing, 97-92. Last year, Marquis Sullivan exploded for 27 points and the Catamounts misfired on a three-pointer to win the game before Brett Harvey iced the game with a pair of free throws for an 83-79 Loyola home victory.
THE PROGRAM: Loyola is playing its 99th recorded season of basketball this season. The first season was 1908-1909 and this year the College is celebrating the 100th anniversary of that first season. The Greyhounds have posted a 1116-1148 (.493) all-time record during that time.
LAST TIME OUT: No. 24 Davidson connected on 14 three-pointers and forced 21 Greyhounds turnovers to post a 78-48 home victory in the final round of the NIT Season Tip-Off. After Loyola used a baffling defense to race out to a 9-4 lead, the Wildcats put together 18-0 and 19-0 runs to build 44-17 lead with 18:14 left in the contest. Senior guard Marquis Sullivan led the Greyhounds with 16 points, including becoming the 29th player in Loyola history to record 1,000 career points when he connected on a three-pointer with 4:33 left in the first half. Junior forward Jawaan Wright matched his career-high with 11 points off the bench.
SULLIVAN REACHES 1,000: Senior guard Marquis Sullivan made his return to the Greyhounds' rotation in North Carolina and in addition to being the only Loyola player to reach double figures for scoring in each game, he recorded the 1,000th point of his career becoming the 29th player in Greyhounds history to do so. Fittingly, the school's all-time leader for three-pointers tallied the historic basket on a three-pointer with 4:33 remaining in the first half, one of four three-pointers he scored in the game while leading the team with 16 points against Davidson. The night prior against James Madison, he entered the game and made three straight three-pointers to give Loyola an 18-9 lead with 11:39 left in the first half, finishing the contest with 11 points.
BARNEY FUELS WIN OVER JAMES MADISON: Sophomore guard Jamal Barney was the catalyst behind the win over the Dukes, establishing or equalling personal-bests in eight of nine categories. His 23 points came in 24 minutes as he scored on eight of nine second-half scoring possessions and assisted on the ninth, finishing the run on an alley oop for a 56-51 Loyola lead with 3:30 left. His previous scoring high was the previous Monday when he scored 18 points at Boston College, meaning he has averaged 20.5 points on the first two Mondays of the season. Loyola's next Monday outing is on the final Monday of 2008 when the Greyhounds visit North Carolina State on December 29.
HARVEY REACHES DOUBLE FIGURES AGAIN: Junior guard Brett Harvey was the only Greyhounds player to reach double figures in the first five games of season. The team's leading scorer at 15.8 points per outing, he tallied a career-high 34 in the win over Tennessee State. He has gotten to the free-throw line 44 times, making 38 of those for 86.4 percent, including nine of his 10 tries against James Madison. He has started 67 of his 70 games at Loyola and the Greyhounds have won 39 of those contests.
REID REBOUNDING: Sophomore forward Isaac Reid has proved to be Loyola's most consistent rebounder. His 6.5 boards-per-game average leads the team by almost two rebounds a game and he collected 12 caroms in the win over Tennessee State. He is averaging 6.5 points and is making 42.9 percent of his three-point attempts (6-14).
LEWIS ERUPTS FOR CAREER-HIGH AGAINST CORNELL: Sophomore guard Tony Lewis poured in 17 of his career-high 23 points in the second half and added eight rebounds and two steals against Cornell. His 49 points are third on the team and his 55.3 percent from the field (21-38) is second. Designated as the team's defensive stopper off the bench at the end of last season, he was moved into a starter's role at the start of this season and responded.
WRIGHT PUTS UP THE BLOCKS: Junior forward Jawaan Wright has already collected 11 blocked shots through six games, including six of those at Boston College. He leads the team in field-goal percentage (.571) and is second in rebounding (4.7 rpg) and steals (6). He needs just two more blocks to crack into the Top 15 in Loyola's career list, recording 31 in two-plus seasons thus far.
WINBUSH RESPONDS TO STARTING NOD: Having only scored two points while playing just 34 minutes through four games, freshman forward Anthony Winbush may have been a surprise starter against James Madison, but he responded. He scored his first bucket of the game on a layup following a dump-in pass to give Loyola a 22-11 lead with 9:51 left in the first half and then closed out the scoring in that half for the Greyhounds by driving the baseline and dunking for a 30-16 advantage with 100 seconds left in the half. His four rebounds matched his total number for the season prior to the game. The next night, he played 29 minutes, scoring five points with his first career three-pointer and grabbed a team-high six rebounds. He also added two steals.