THE GAME: Both teams are coming off home defeats suffered Wednesday night. The Greyhounds dropped a 75-68 decision to unanimous preseason choice Siena while Niagara lost 63-59 to Akron. The sub-60 point total is the lowest for the Purple Eagles in two calendar years.
THE COACHES: Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos enters his fifth season and has registered a 60-68 (.469) career record. The 1989 Catholic graduate is 3-6 against Niagara. Niagara head coach Joe Mihalich is in his 11th season with the Purple Eagles and sports a 184-125 (.595) career record. The 1978 La Salle graduate is 19-3 against the Greyhounds.
THE TEAMS: Outside of MAAC foes, there are no common opponents on the schedules of either team. This is the MAAC opener for Niagara.
THE SERIES: Niagara leads the series, 28-14, and have won four straight in the series. After meeting for the first time in December 1955 at Buffalo's Memorial Auditorium, the teams did not meet again until they both became members of the MAAC in 1989-1990. The Purple Eagles swept the series last year as both games were played over six days.
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 1116-1150 (.492) all-time record during that time.
LAST TIME OUT: After the Greyhounds battled back from an 11-point deficit to tie the score at 54 with 7:26 left, Siena scored 14 of the game's next 16 points to build its largest lead of the game at 68-56 with 2:50 remaining and hold on for a 75-68 MAAC win in the conference opener for both teams. Sophomore guard Jamal Barney collected his first career double-double with 20 points and a career-best 10 rebounds. Junior guard Brett Harvey tallied 15 points and handed out five assists. Loyola established a school record by going a perfect 11 for 11 from the free-throw line.
BARNEY RECORDS FIRST CAREER DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Sophomore guard Jamal Barney notched the first double-double of his career Wednesday when he collected a career-best 10 rebounds to go along with 20 points, his second 20-point effort of his career. Earlier this season, he tallied a career-high 23 points in a win over James Madison. His 10 field goals made Wednesday was also a personal best. His 20 points vaulted him over 100 for the season (101) and he leads the team with nine steals.
HARVEY REFINDS SCORING TOUCH: After not making a field goal in two games, junior guard Brett Harvey reached double figures for the first time since November 24 with 15 Wednesday night against Siena. Still the team's leading scorer at 14.0 points per outing, he has made 12 straight free throws and 88.5 percent (46-52) from the foul line for the season. His career high came in Loyola's first win, tallying 34 points in the win over Tennessee State.
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. At Vermont, he led Loyola with 19 points, making five of his eight three-point attempts.
WRIGHT PUTS UP THE BLOCKS: Junior forward Jawaan Wright has already collected 17 blocked shots through eight games, including five at Vermont. He leads the team in field-goal percentage (.609) and is third in rebounding (4.0 rpg). He has cracked the Top 15 in Loyola's career blocked shots list, recording 37 in two-plus seasons thus far to rank 14th.
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. 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. Then, he grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds at Vermont with three assists and four steals.
HALL TALLIES DOUBLE DIGITS: The Greyhounds found an additional source of offense off the bench at Vermont when freshman guard J'hared Hall scored a career-high 11 points in 12 minutes. He made three of his four three-point attempts and he knocked down the basket that brought Loyola all the way back from a 13-point first-half deficit when his three-pointer tied the game at 43 with 12:35 remaining. He has made 50.0 percent (7-14) of his three-point attempts thus far this season.
REID REBOUNDING: Sophomore forward Isaac Reid has proved to be Loyola's most consistent rebounder. His 6.3 boards-per-game average leads the team by almost two rebounds a game and he collected 12 caroms in the win over Tennessee State.
COPPIN STATE GAME MOVED TO SEVEN O'CLOCK: The December 10 game with Coppin State has been changed to a 7 o'clock start as the request of MASN, which is televising the game.
NEXT TIME OUT: The Greyhounds go back out of conference play for the remainder of the month starting Wednesday with the final home game of 2008 when they host Coppin State, ending a three-game home stand. After Wednesday, there is an extended break for exams before traveling to UC Davis for a game on December 21.