Hot Shooting In Second Half Leads Men's Hoops Over Army West Point
BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland shot 65.4 percent from the floor in the second half and made seven of its last eight field goals Tuesday night to score an 82-79 victory over the visiting U.S. Military Academy in the Patriot League Championships First Round. The Greyhounds advanced to play at Bucknell University in a Thursday night quarterfinal.
Army West Point built an eight-point lead, 39-31, on a Jordan Fox three less than 30 seconds before halftime, but Walker knocked down an off-balance 3-pointer from the left side to get the Greyhounds within five at the buzzer.
Fox, however, made another three at 15:44 in the second half, pushing the Black Knights' lead to 10, 50-40. Kostecka scored for Loyola in the paint 34 seconds later to break a 6-0 Army West Point run, but Tucker Blackwell made two of three at the free-throw line at 14:51 to push the lead back to 10.
Loyola chipped away at the Army West Point lead, getting within a pair, 58-56, on an alley-oop dunk by Kostecka off a Walker lob at 9:24. A Black Knights turnover led to two free throws by Isaiah Hart at 9:10, and the Greyhounds were tied for the first time since 28-28 with 5:46 to go in the first half.
Alex King converted a pair from the foul-line for Army West Point on its next possession to push the Black Knights in front by two, but Walker scored in transition at 8:05 to tie the game for a sixth time. An offensive foul was whistled on the Black Knights, and Walker tallied a layup while drawing contact for the Greyhounds. He made a free throw to put Loyola up 63-60, but Army West Point responded with a traditional 3-point play by Tommy Funk.
Walker scored again in the paint at 6:39 to put Loyola in front by two, but Luke Morrison was fouled and made the front-end of two at the line to cut the Black Knights' deficit to one. Loyola turned the ball over, and Matt Wilson scored on a turnaround layup at 5:46, giving Army a 66-65 lead at 5:46.
From there, Champion knocked down a 12-foot jumper for Loyola, and Kostecka converted a steal into two fast-break points at 5:09. He then rebounded a Fox miss and sent a long outlet pass to Champion for a transition layup that gave Loyola a five point lead, 71-66, with 4:55 on the clock.
Funk would get Army West Point within two, 73-71 with a top-of-the-perimeter three at 3:11, but Scott made three of four free throws on the next two Greyhounds possessions to stretch the advantage to seven.
Army West Point, however, came back with a Funk layup and a King three with 43 seconds left, making it a two-point game. Scott misfired on two free throws for Loyola, but Brent Holcombe's defense altered a Jacob Kessler layup, and Holcombe came down with the rebound the Greyhounds. He was fouled and made both free throws with 18 ticks left to provide a four-point advantage.
Funk had another three in him for the Black Knights, striking with 11 seconds left. Loyola inbounded the ball, and Champion killed five seconds off the clock before being fouled. He hit two free throws to make it an 82-79 Loyola lead.
Funk's desperation three for Army West Point was off the mark, and Kostecka swatted the loose ball away as time expired to give Loyola the win.
Funk had 21 points and nine assists to lead Army West Point, while Fox scored 19.
Holcombe grabbed 10 rebounds, one off his career-high, and he scored eight points. Cam Gregory and Scott also had big games on the boards, grabbing nine and eight, respectively.
Walker dished out six assists for Loyola, moving into sole possession of fifth-place in career helpers. Kostecka had a career-best five assists to go with two steals.
Loyola shot 55.4 percent from the field in the game, and it held the Black Knights to 42.4 percent.
Walker's 19 points moved him past Dylon Cormier (2010-2014) and into seventh in career points at Loyola with 1,665. He also took over sole possession of second in 3-pointers made with 213.