Freshmen Scoring Leads Men's Basketball Over American
Feb. 7, 2018
BALTIMORE - Freshmen Brent Holcombe and Isaiah Hart each scored 17 points on Wednesday night, leading Loyola University Maryland to a wire-to-wire 72-69 victory over visiting American University in Patriot League action from Reitz Arena.
Holcombe's 17 came with nine rebounds, and his point-total marked a career-high. He made all but one of his seven field-goal attempts, while Hart converted 5 of 8 from the field and 7 of 9 from the free-throw line.
The Greyhounds led by 10 with under three minutes to play, but 3-poitners by American's Cheikh Diallo and Stacy Beckton Jr. pulled the Eagles within a point with 49.6 seconds left.
After a Loyola timeout, Isiah Hart sent a pass to Cam Gregory in the post, and Gregory faked right before turning to his left and scoring over American's Jesse Little, giving the Greyhounds a three-point cushion with 23.5 seconds left.
American's Sa'eed Nelson misfired on a layup with under 10 seconds to go, but the Eagles retained possession after Loyola knocked the rebound out-of-bounds with 3.6 on the clock.
On the inbound play, Nelson came around a screen, and Sam Norton switched onto him defensively, pressuring him 25-plus feet from the basket. Nelson's desperation heave at the buzzer landed over the backboard, securing the Greyhounds' win.
Norton also had a career-high seven rebounds in the game for Loyola (8-16 overall, 6-7 Patriot League).
The game started slowly with the teams combining for only four points before the first media timeout, but after Larry Motuzis tied the score at 4-4 with an American basket at 15:20, Loyola scored the next seven points to lead 13-6 on an Andre Walker layup at 11:29.
American (5-19, 2-11) pulled within a pair at 9:43 on a Beckton Jr. basket, but Loyola stretched its lead to 13 as Hart scored seven-consecutive points, culminating with a highlight-reel transition basket at 3:06 that drew an Eagles timeout. Norton came away with a rebound off a missed layup by the Eagles, and he fed Hart on the run. Hart drove the length of the floor and finished with a behind-the-back flourish to elude an American defender, putting Loyola in front, 30-17.
The Eagles made it a 32-25 game at the half as Nelson, who led all players with 31 points, knocked down an 18-foot jumper at the first-half's buzzer, but baskets by Walker and Gregory to open the second half quickly put the margin back in double digits.
Walker then made a three on the right wing at 16:09, giving Loyola a 43-31 lead, and the advantage would be seven or higher for the Greyhounds over the next 14 minutes.
Chuck Champion made a pair of free throws for Loyola at 2:11, giving Loyola a 70-61 lead, but Little scored in the paint on American's next possession to make it a seven-point game. Diallo and Beckton Jr. then hit threes on back-to-back possessions, making it a one-point game before Gregory's basket.
Led by Holcombe and Hart, five Loyola players scored in 10 or more points. Walker and Champion each had 12, while Gregory's late score gave him 10. Walker led all players with five assists, and Loyola had a 34-23 advantage on the boards.
The Greyhounds resume Patriot League play on Sunday, February 11, with a nationally-televised game on CBS Sports Network at 12 p.m. versus Lafayette College on the Leopards' home floor in Easton, Pennsylvania.