THE GAME: For the first time this season, the Greyhounds enter a contest having had more than 24 hours to enjoy a win. Loyola beat Coppin State 11 days ago (Dec. 10) before breaking for exams. The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Greyhounds. UC Davis had its modest two-game winning streak broken Wednesday night when it lost at Presbyterian.
THE COACHES: Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos enters his fifth season and has registered a 61-69 (.469) career record. The 1989 Catholic graduate is 1-0 against UC Davis. UC Davis head coach Gary Stewart is in his sixth season with the Aggies and sports a 55-98 (.359) record at the school. He is in his 16th season as a head coach and has a 197-217 (.476) career record. The 1984 La Verne graduate is 0-1 against the Greyhounds.
THE TEAMS: There are no teams that appear on the schedules of both teams. This matchup came out of the pool of teams participating in the 2008 BracketBusters event and both teams are participating in the February 2009 event again as well.
THE SERIES: Loyola leads the series 1-0 after defeating the Aggies 67-64 at home in February in the first-ever matchup. The win was the third of four straight for the Greyhounds as Marquis Sullivan (14 points) and Brett Harvey (12) each reached double figures for Loyola. Guards Tony Lewis and Brian Rudolph each scored six points while Rudolph added eight rebounds and eight assists.
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 1117-1151 (.493) all-time record during that time.
LAST TIME OUT: The Greyhounds overcame a 20-point first-half deficit, grabbed the lead for good on a pair of free throws from sophomore guard Jamal Barney with 46 seconds remaining and finished a 73-70 home win over Coppin State on two more free throws from junior guard Brett Harvey with 16 ticks left. Barney led the team with 21 points and eight rebounds while sophomore forward Isaac Reid added a career-high 18 points with six boards. Freshman guard J'hared Hall matched his career-high with 11 points and Harvey finished with 10 points. Sophomore guard Brian Rudolph was one off his career-best with nine assists while not committing a turnover.
LOYOLA IN BRACKETBUSTERS GAMES: While still not receiving one of those prized television slots that all participating BracketBusters teams yearn for, the event has been kind to the Greyhounds thus far. Loyola is a perfect 3-0 in the February matchups in its three years in the event and 1-1 in the return games for a 4-1 record. The only loss was a road return game played just after the break for exams, dropping a 63-57 decision at High Point in December 2006. The Greyhounds are designated as a road team for this year's event when the matchups are announced in early February.
GREYHOUNDS OUT WEST: Since elevating to Division I in 1981, the Greyhounds have made seven trips to the West Coast. The current trip is the first since Loyola traveled to Santa Clara to open a home-and-home in January 2002. The Greyhounds collected their only win in 12 games in the Pacific time zone in the consolation game of the 1995 Otis Spunkmeyer Classic, topping Holy Cross. The most significant game in Loyola men's basketball history took place in Sacramento when the Greyhounds faced off against No. 2 seed Arizona in the 1994 NCAA Championship First Round, the only Division I NCAA appearance for Loyola.
BARNEY SHOWING THE WAY: After not having played in almost two years following his departure from Providence and sitting out his NCAA-mandated transfer season, sophomore guard Jamal Barney has found his niche in the lineup. Moved in as a starter six games ago, he has reached double figures in five of the six while leading the team in scoring three of those times. Over that six-game stretch, he is averaging 16.0 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 44.3 percent (39-88) from the field and 87.5 percent (14-16) from the free-throw line.
HARVEY REFINDS SCORING TOUCH: After not making a field goal in two games, junior guard Brett Harvey has scored in double figures in each of the three games since, including 27 points two weeks ago against Niagara. Three Sundays prior to that he tallied a career-high 34 points in the win over Tennessee State, meaning he is averaging 30.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 46.9 percent (15-32) from the floor, 50.0 percent (8-16) from three-point range and 92.0 percent (23-25) from the free-throw line in two Sunday games this season. He is shooting 91.3 percent (63-69) from the line for the season to rank eighth nationally and has made nine or more foul shots in a game four times, including 13 of 13 against Niagara to equal the second-best performance in school history.
REID NOTCHES CAREER-HIGH: Sophomore forward Isaac Reid posted a career-high with 18 points in the team's last outing against Coppin State. He made five field goals, including two three-pointers, and was a perfect six for six from the free-throw line. Trailing by 12, he scored nine straight second-half points to bring Loyola within three and set the stage for the come-from-behind win. The team's leading rebounder at 6.4 boards per game, he is shooting 36.4 percent (8-22) from three-point range and 83.3 percent (15-18) from the free-throw line this season.
WINBUSH LENDS SUPPORT: Keen observers have noticed the impact that freshman forward Anthony Winbush has made since moving into the starting lineup six games ago. After playing just 34 minutes in the season's first four games, he hasn't played less than 23 in any of the six that followed. His impact was never felt more than in the deciding moments of the Coppin State game. His steal off the press and hand off to junior guard Brett Harvey in three-point range for a successful basket game Loyola its first lead of the second half with 4:21 to go, his alley-oop dunk 3:09 left pushed the lead to five, another alley-oop dunk with 84 seconds remaining snapped a 67-all tie, he found sophomore guard Jamal Barney open under the basket for what resulted in the game-winning free throws with 46 ticks left and finally he rebounded a missed Eagles shot with 22 seconds left and got the ball to Harvey who was fouled and sank the game-clinching free throws.
WIEGAND EARNS STARTS: A freshman walk-on, center Josh Wiegand earned a start in the second half of the Niagara game and then was in the starting lineup for the next game against Coppin State. Against the Purple Eagles, he made all three of his shots from the field for six points and added five rebounds, including four off the offensive glass. His next outing resulted in two points, four rebounds, a steal and a block.
HALL TALLIES DOUBLE DIGITS AGAIN: Freshman guard J'hared Hall matched his career-high against Coppin State, scoring 11 points in a career-best 17 minutes. Seven of his points came in the second half and his only three-pointer of the game cut what was a 20-point Greyhounds deficit to nine with 14:32 remaining. He first tallied 11 at Vermont, scoring the three-point basket that brought Loyola all the way back from a 13-point first-half deficit to tie the game with 12:35 left. He has made 42.1 percent (8-19) of his three-point attempts thus far this season.
RUDOLPH LENDS HELPING HAND: Out of the starting lineup for the first time since early January of last year, sophomore guard Brian Rudolph responded with his best performance of the season, handing out nine assists without a turnover and adding two steals. The assist total was just one off his career high of 10. Mired in a shooting slump since scoring 11 points twice in the first three games, he is averaging 5.2 assists through the 10 games this season.
WRIGHT PUTS UP THE BLOCKS: Junior forward Jawaan Wright has already collected 17 blocked shots through nine games, including five at Vermont. He leads the team in field-goal percentage (.609) and is third in rebounding (3.7 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.
SULLIVAN REACHES 1,000: Senior guard Marquis Sullivan was honored prior to the December 10 game for scoring the 1,000th point of his career. The 29th player to do so, he tallied the historic basket on a three-pointer with 4:33 remaining in the first half at Davidson, one of four three-pointers he scored in the game while leading the team with 16 points. 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.
NEXT TIME OUT: Ending an 11-day break for exams this afternoon, Loyola will be off eight days for Christmas before being in action again December 29 at North Carolina State. Game time at the RBC Center is 7 o'clock.