Late Defensive Stops Help Men's Basketball Beat Drexel
Dec. 21, 2017
BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland held visiting Drexel University to just one field goal and four total points in the final 3:30 of regulation Thursday night, and the Greyhounds dealt the Dragons a 66-62 non-conference defeat in Reitz Arena.
Loyola led for the majority of the game, going up by eight early in the second half for the largest margin either team led by in the contest, but Drexel (6-7 overall) rallied to tie the score at 47-47 on a Tadas Karainas 3-pointer with 8:50 to play.
Champion responded with a three for the Greyhounds (2-8) on their next possession, but an Austin Williams basket in the paint and a Kurk Lee three at 7:07 pushed the Dragons ahead, 52-50. The lead was Drexel's first since just under 11 minutes remained in the first half.
After Lee's three gave Drexel a two-point lead, Champion caught a Scott outlet pass to score in transition, knotting the game at 52-52, but Lee knocked down another three to push Drexel up three with 6:01 left.
With the shot-clock winding down on Loyola's next possession, Walker fed Champion on the top-right of the perimeter, and he drained his fourth 3-pointer of the game, tying the score for the eighth time. Lee was fouled at 3:38, but he made only the front-end of two free throws, giving Drexel a 58-57 advantage with 3:38 to play.
Walker triggered a highlight-reel play on Loyola's ensuing possession that would put the Greyhounds in front for good. He slung a one-handed bounce pass to Reed on the baseline, and Reed quickly redirected it to Gregory on the left side of the lane. Gregory's one-handed dunk over two Drexel defenders drew a foul, and he made the free throw to put Loyola up a pair, 60-58 with 3:20 on the clock.
After Lee missed a three for Drexel, Walker fed Reed for a layup at 2:35, giving the freshman post a career-high nine points for the game.
On the defensive end, Gregory had a steal on one Drexel possession, and Andrew Kostecka blocked a Dragons shot on the next. Champion then pulled up for a jumper with 68 seconds left, pushing the Loyola advantage to six, 64-58.
Lee drew a foul on Drexel's next possession, and he made two of three free throws. After Loyola went empty on its next trip to the offensive end, Lee scored in the lane, drawing Drexel within two, 64-62, with 25 seconds left.
Coming out of a Dragons timeout, Kostecka hit Champion with a home-run pass, and Champion easily laid the ball in to push the lead to four.
Drexel took another timeout, but Loyola forced a missed shot in the paint, and Gregory grabbed the rebound to secure the win.
Lee finished with 20 points to lead the Dragons, while Sammy Mojica came off the bench to sink four 3-pointers and score 16. Austin Williams had 10 points and a team-high 14 rebounds.
In addition to Champion's 21 points, Isaiah Hart scored 10, while Reed had nine. Gregory, Walker and Kostecka each chipped in eight points. Kostecka finished with three steals and a career-high four blocked shots.
The Greyhounds return to action quickly as they travel to the Volunteer State for a Saturday, December 23, game at the University of Memphis. Loyola Head Coach G.G. Smith and the Greyhounds will face his father Tubby Smith's Tigers in an 11 a.m. (CST) contest at the FedEx Forum.