Dec. 4, 2007
THE GAME: Conference play commences this evening as the Greyhounds and Gaels meet in the MAAC opener. Loyola has dropped two straight and has yet to win on the road this season in three tries. On the flip side, Iona has yet to lose at home. That represents one game at Hynes Athletics Center, that being a win over Delaware in its last outing. The win over the Blue Hens ended a six-game Gaels losing streak to open the season.
THE COACHES: Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos is in his fourth season and has registered a 43-52 (.453) career record. The 1989 Catholic graduate has a 3-3 record against the Gaels, including wins in the last two. Iona head coach Kevin Williard is in his first season with the Gaels and has a 1-6 (.143) career record. The 1997 Pittsburgh graduate has never coached against the Greyhounds.
THE TEAMS: Outside of conference contests, there are no teams that show up on the schedules of both of tonight's opponents. In a schedule anomaly, these teams will play twice in their first four conference games, albeit one month apart. The Gaels return the game to Baltimore on January 6.
THE SERIES: Iona leads the series, 35-9, with the first contest being played in 1951-52. The Gaels won 17 straight contests between February 1998 and January 2005 before Loyola captured a 73-64 home victory. That win triggered a stretch of three Greyhounds wins over the last five games.
THE PROGRAM: Loyola is playing its 98th recorded season of basketball this season. The first season was 1908-09 and the Greyhounds have posted a 1099-1133 (.492) all-time record.
LOYOLA IN MAAC OPENERS: Entering their 19th conference opener as members of the MAAC, the Greyhounds have posted a 3-15 record in the previous 18 games, winning just one of the last 12. Two of those three total wins came on the road - 1994-95 at Niagara and 2005-06 at Fairfield. In the first road conference game of the season as members of the MAAC, Loyola is 5-13 and has won its last two. Three times Iona has been the opening opponent, winning the first instance at home in 1993-94 and dropping a home game in 1996-97 and at Iona in 2003-04. Fourth-year head coach Jimmy Patsos is 1-2 in MAAC openers, but has won twice when he has played the first league game away from home in the previous three seasons.
LAST TIME OUT: Mount St. Mary's held the Greyhounds to 29 percent first-half shooting and without a point for the final 7:38 of the half to turn a five-point deficit into a six-point lead at the intermission, earning its first win of the season with a 70-58 home non-conference victory over Loyola Saturday night at Knott Arena. The Mountaineers' starting trio of guards combined for 51 points led by Jeremy Goode's 22 points, nine steals, seven steals and five rebounds. Senior guard Gerald Brown was the only Loyola player in double figures with 12 points.
GREYHOUNDS EXPERIENCING SCORING WOES: After averaging 78.4 points in its first five games while shooting better than 40 percent in each, Loyola has failed to score more than 73 points in an outing since and hasn't shot better than 37.7 percent in any of the three contests. Three-point shooting has been one of the primary reasons for the missing scoring. After connecting on better than 30 percent of their long-range shots over the first five games, the Greyhounds have failed to shoot better than 28.6 percent in any of the last three. Last year, Loyola made 38.5 percent from three-point range for the season.
BROWN EQUALS CAREER HIGH: After scoring 32 points two games prior, senior guard Gerald Brown returned to his scoring ways by tying his career high with 33 points against Howard. He now has seven games of 30 or more in his career. The Baltimore native failed to convert a field goal for the first time in a Greyhounds uniform and scored just three free throws against Vermont for his lowest Loyola total after having his knee drained two days prior.
A HEALTHY TUCK IS A PRODUCTIVE TUCK: Last season, senior forward Michael Tuck battled injuries which kept him out of the starting lineup all season and out of some games. Healthy at the start of this season [knock on wood], last year's MAAC Sixth Man of the Year has been able to provide more of his consistent play. He leads the team with 6.9 rebounds per outing as is averaging 11.3 points in eight outings. The school's all-time leader in field-goal percentage, Tuck has made 38 of 78 from the floor this season (.487).
LEWIS PROVIDES ENERGY OFF THE BENCH: After earning a start in the season's third game, freshman guard Tony Lewis provided payoff for the patience of the coaches with a career-high nine points off the bench in the win over Howard. The Fredericksburg native did not miss a shot, making all four of his attempts from the field and his only free throw for his points. He played a career-best 12 minutes and grabbed three rebounds. He followed that with three assists in his next outing.
HARVEY FILLS DUAL ROLE: Sophomore guard Brett Harvey has shared time from possession to possession at point guard and shooting guard depending on whom is in the backcourt with him. Playing 31 minutes against Vermont, he made all three of his three-point attempts and all four of his free throws en route to a season-high 13 points while handing out four assists without a turnover. He has made all 11 of his free-throw attempts and nine of his 16 tries from three-point range (.563).
FRESHMAN RUDOLPH ASSUMES LEADERSHIP ROLE: Freshman point guard Brian Rudolph has answered the call, giving the Greyhounds a consistent floor general of late. Inserted into the starting lineup for the home opener against Pennsylvania, the 5-11 guard played every minute of the second half as he engineered the comeback win over American. In addition to scoring his first field goal and registering his first assist, Rudolph finished the contest with six points, six assists and five rebounds while playing man-to-man against the Eagles backcourt of junior guards Derrick Mercer and Garrison Carr. He followed that with a career-best seven assists in the win over Vermont and is coming off his career-best with 10 points against Drexel.
SULLIVAN ADDS NAME TO RECORD BOOK AGAIN: Junior guard Marquis Sullivan inked his name to the Greyhounds' record book again following his performance against Vermont. En route to his career-high 27 points, Sullivan connected on seven of eight three-pointers, the total tying for second on the all-time list behind the nine made by Andre Collins in 2006. The Westminster, Md., native established a school record by connecting on all six of his shots from three-point range in last year's home finale. He made all four of his three-point attempts in the home exhibition contest with Villa Julie to open the season and then made his first two long-range shots in the home opener against Pennsylvania to give him 12 straight three-pointers at Reitz Arena. He was the only Loyola player to score in double figures in the first five games this season and reached that number 21 times last season.