Loyola plays its fifth Patriot League game of the season on Monday, January 13, when it hosts Lafayette College at 7:30 p.m. in Reitz Arena. The game will be Loyola’s first-ever on CBS Sports Network. The Greyhounds finished their second week of League competition in fifth place at 2-2 with losses to two of the three teams tied for first at 4-0 (American and Army). Loyola’s win over Lehigh on Saturday afternoon snapped a two-game losing streak The Greyhounds had their best shooting performance since Dec. 4. At 9.36 steals per game this season, the Greyhounds lead the Patriot League. Loyola passed the halfway point of its regular-season versus Lehigh.
Last Time Out
Loyola led Lehigh University by three at halftime, 35-32, and by the same margin 1:22 into the second half before embarking on an 11-0 run that would put it up double-digits.
The Greyhounds fended off a Mountain Hawks challenge for a 72-68 Patriot League win on Saturday afternoon.
Loyola had a slight advantage on the boards, outrebounding Lehigh, 33-31.
The Greyhounds turned 11 Lehigh turnovers into 17 points. Cormier led all players with three steals.
CBS Sports Network
Monday’s game will mark the first time Loyola will play a men’s basketball game on CBS Sports Network.
The game will air live nationally with Jason Knapp calling the play-by-play and Chris Spatola handling color analysis duties.
Loyola will return to the Network a week later when it plays at Boston University on Monday, January 20.
Series History Versus Lafayette
Loyola and Lafayette will meet for the third time in series history and the first time in 51 years, 15 days.
The teams first met on December 16, 1930, when the Greyhounds opened the season with a 31-27 victory.
It took another 32 years before the programs met again. This time, Lafayette came out on top, 69-64, in the championship game of the Loyola Invitational on December 29, 1962.
Start Of A New Era
Loyola’s January 2 game against Navy marked the start of a new era for Loyola basketball, the Greyhounds’ first game as a member of the Patriot League.
Loyola announced in August 2012 it would join the 10-school League, and it officially became a member on July 1, 2013.
The Greyhounds had been members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) since 1989-1990.
Loyola had its best shooting performance of 2014 on Saturday when it beat Lehigh, and its best since it shot 53 percent from the field on December 4 against Catholic University of America.
The Greyhounds hit 50 percent of their shots 26-of-52 in the win over Lehigh. Loyola also posted 12 offensive rebounds, nine in the first half. It converted those boards into 17 second-chance points, 12 before halftime.
Dylon Cormier still did the bulk of the scoring for Loyola, finishing with 25 of Loyola’s 72 points, but the Greyhounds had two other players with 12 or more and two more with seven-plus.
Loyola improved to 4-2 this season when outrebounding its opponents. It was the first time in League play that the Greyhounds outrebounded a team and won.
Cormier To The Glass
Dylon Cormier led, or tied for the team lead, for the eighth time this season with eight rebounds against Lehigh. Five of the Greyhounds’ seven wins this season have come when Cormier leads the team on the boards.
This season, Cormier leads the Greyhounds with 6.0 rebounds per game, a total that ranks tops among Patriot League guards and seventh overall.
He is also the top offensive rebounder in the conference, averaging 3.33 per game, a mark that is 0.8 better than any other player in the League.
Cormier has 90 total rebounds this year, with a 5:4 ratio (50-40) coming on the offensive end.
After combining for just 10 points and eight rebounds on Wednesday night against American University in a loss, Loyola’s post players scored 23 points and 16 boards versus Lehigh.
Jordan Latham had a season-high 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. His four free throws made were a career-high, and he also grabbed six rebounds.
Fellow starter Franz Rassman had seven rebounds and four rebounds, three offensive.
Nick Gorski and Josh Forney provided much-needed minutes off the bench, particularly in the first half when Rassman and Latham were on the bench with two fouls each. Jarred Jones also delivered four rebounds, a basket and two blocked shots.
After the game, Head Coach G.G. Smith praised the group and their defensive efforts against the Mountain Hawks.
The Greyhounds posted 11 or more steals in each of their first three Patriot League games, and they had five versus Lehigh.
The 43 steals in its last four games have raised Loyola’s Patriot League-leading average to 9.1 per game. Through games of January 11, the Greyhounds are ranked 15th nationally in steals per game.
Loyola has had 11 or more steals in seven games through 15 contests.
R.J. Williams leads the Patriot League,and is ninth nationally in steals per game (2.7), while Dylon Cormier is second (2.1) and 47th.
Williams posted a career-high six, tied for fifth-most in school single-game history, at Army.
Cormier now has 171 in his career, and with three against Lehigh, he moved into sole possession of third-place all-time at Loyola. With 100 in his career, Williams is tied for 17th on the career chart.
Williams’ Career Day
R.J. Williams had the best statistical game of his three-year Loyola career on last Sunday at Army, logging highs in points (14), field goals made and attempted (5-of-9) and steals (6).
Williams raised his 2013-14 scoring average to 7.8 per game. He has scored in double figures four times this year, one more than the number he logged in his first two seasons with the Greyhounds.
Back In The Win Column
Loyola’s come-from-behind win over Navy on January 2was its first victory since December 4 against Catholic University; it was the Greyhounds’ first Division I win since defeating UMBC on November 20.
The Greyhounds did several things statistically differently in the win that they had not in the four losses. Loyola shot 42.9 percent from the field (38.5 in four losses), held Navy to 37.5 percent (38.5), took 32 free throws (23.5), blocked seven shots (2.5) and allowed 57 points (76.2).
Die Hard Dogs
Loyola has trailed with five minutes to go in regulation in four of its six victories this season – Binghamton, Cornell, UMBC and Navy – only to come back to win.
In their Patriot League-opener, the Greyhounds were 10 points back of Navy, 47-37, when the clock hit 5:00 in the second half, but Loyola closed the half on an 15-5 run to force overtime.
At Binghamton, the Greyhounds were down five at the five-minute mark; Cornell, seven; and UMBC, six. In the game at UMBC, the Retrievers’ lead ballooned to 10 with 90 seconds left.
Loyola is 3-0 in overtime games this season and has won its last seven games that have extended past regulation.
Since the 2004-2005 season, Loyola is 12-1 in overtime games.
This season, the Greyhounds have outscored Cornell, UMBC and Navy by an average of 12.3 to 7.3 in the extra frames.
Loyola’s three overtime games this year match the number it played, and won, last year. Prior to 2012-13, the last time Loyola played three or more overtime games in a season was 1990-91.
Last Five Focus
In Loyola’s seven victories this season, it has outscored its opponents 19.9-12.3 in the final five minutes of the games.
The Greyhounds have shot 59.3 percent from the field and 56.3 percent from 3-point range, in the final five minutes of the wins. Their opponents have shot just 37.1 percent from the field and 20.8 percent from behind the arc.
In those 35 minutes, Loyola has committed just 11 turnovers to its opponents’ 23. Fifteen of the opponent turnovers have been from Loyola steals.
Add in its overtime games, and Loyola has outscored opponents 35.7-24.7 in the final five minutes plus overtime.
Jordan Latham tied his career-high with four blocks against Navy, and Loyola matched its season-best with seven.
With another block at Army moved Latham’s career total to 72. He is seventh in school history, four away from eclipsing Omari Israel’s 75 from 2006-08.
Second Half Revivals
Prior to the game at American, Loyola had outscored its previous seven opponents, 290-242, in the second half (and overtime of the Navy game).
In those final 20 (or 25) minutes, the Greyhounds shot 47.3 percent from the field, but their defense was the difference. The opponents were limited to just 66-of-152 (43.4 percent) from the floor during the second halves, 11-of-40 (27.5 percent) from 3-point range.
Loyola’s opponents committed 62 turnovers to Loyola’s 26 after the breaks.
The Greyhounds’ second half rallies were necessitated by slow starts that have dug first-half holes against Stony Brook, Saint Joseph’s, Miami and Navy.
In those games, Loyola allowed its foes to shot 56.4 percent (62-of-110) from the field while shooting just 32.6 percent (29-of-89) itself. The opponents made a combined 19-of-37 (.514) shots from behind the arc, as well.
Loyola has also lost the turnover differentials in the first halves of those games, coughing up the ball 36 times while forcing just 25 turnovers.
On January 2 against Navy, Loyola made just four first-half field goals.
Cumulatively, in the Greyhounds’ 15 games, Loyola has been outscored, 37.1-29.6, in the first half this season.
Cormier’s Start To The Season
Dylon Cormier has started the season scoring in bunches, averaging 22.5 points per game through 15. Through games of Wednesday, January 11, Cormier was seventh in the nation in scoring.
Cormier scored 20 or more points in the Greyhounds’ first five games, and he had three 30-plus point efforts during that stretch, as well. Overall, he has 11 20+ point games in 15 contests.
On November 20 at UMBC, Cormier had a career-high 12 field goals and went 9-of-13 from the line to match his career-best with 34 points (also set on November 10 at Cornell).
No Loyola player in the school’s Division I era (since 1981-1982) had started the season with five-straight 20-point games. Andre Collins, who set the school single-season scoring record at 26.1, started the 2005-2006 season with 20 or more points in five of six games, but he scored just 16 in the Greyhounds’ third game of the season.
Collins had eight games with 30 or more points that season, the most by a Loyola player during the Division I era.
Cormier was the first player in Loyola men’s basketball history to post two 30+ point games to start the season.
He was the first Loyola player to score 30 or more in back-to-back outings since Collins went for 34, 36 and 39 in three-straight games (all on the road at VMI, Delaware and Providence) from December 29, 2005-January 3, 2006.
In the second half at Army, Dylon Cormier became the eighth player in school history, and the sixth at the Division I level, to score 1,500 career points. Cormier now has 1,550 career points, and next up on the all-time scoring list is Mike Powell who scored 1,580 from 1995-98.
Cormier is the eighth player at Loyola to reach 1,500 points at the Division I level.
Cormier To The Charity Stripe
Loyola went to the free-throw line a season-high 35 times on December 19 against Stony Brook, and Dylon Cormier took 21 of the attempts.
His 21 free throw attempts were the second-most in school single-game history, one shy of tying the January 14, 2009, mark set by Jamal Barney against NJIT.
Cormier made 16 free throws, a career-best, good for a tie for fourth in single-game history. Barney holds that record, as well, with 18.
He had another game that will be entered on the Loyola charts against Navy when he made 12-of-12 at the line. It was the fifth-best performance in school history (most makes without a miss).
Through 15 games, Cormier has gone to the free-throw line 145 times (fifth in Division I through games of January 11). His average of 9.7 free throws per game is fourth nationally.
Loyola is guaranteed at least 30 games this season (29 regular-season, plus at least one Patriot League Tournament), and with that average, Cormier would 291 free throws in 2013-14. The school single-season record for free throws attempted is 255 set in 1997-98 by Mike Powell.
In his career, Cormier is 434-of-616 from the free-throw line. He is third in school history in free throws made and tied for third in attempts.
Through 15 games this season, the Greyhounds are averaging 2.9 fewer turnovers per game than their opponents, tops in the Patriot League and tied for 37th in the nation.
Loyola has committed 179 turnovers to 223 even greater in the second half of games, as opponents have nearly 2:1 more turnovers (121-69).
In Loyola’s eight losses this season, the Greyhounds are shooting nearly eight percent worse from the floor than they are in their seven victories.
Loyola has made 46.1 percent (178-of-386) shots in six wins versus 37.7 percent (176-of-467) in eight losses. As a consequence, Loyola is averaging 15.2 points less (77.4 versus 62.2) points.
As one would expect, opponents are shooting better (50.0-41.7) in the games they’ve won.
After averaging just 5.3 minutes in 27 games last season, Eric Laster has seen his role expand dramatically this season, starting the first 15 games on the wing.
Laster has averaged 9.0 points in Loyola’s first 15 contests, and he is shooting 42.6 percent (23-of-54) from 3-point range. In 27 games last year, he averaged just 0.8 points (22 total) and shot 32.3 percent overall from the field.
From Way Back, Part 1
Loyola trailed UMBC by 17 points, 58-41, with 9:44 left in regulation on November 20, but the Greyhounds came all the way back to tie the score with 11 ticks left in regulation. They then went on to win, 89-83, in overtime.
An R.J. Williams layup with 8:37 left started a 10-0 run that would cut the deficit to seven on two Dylon Cormier free throws at 6:29, and Loyola would get within four on three occasions after that.
UMBC, however, pushed the lead back to double-digits, 73-63, on a Malik Garner free throw with 90 seconds remaining.
Eric Laster hit a pair of threes, wrapped around a 1-of-2 trip to the line for UMBC’s Joey Getz, and Loyola was down 74-69 with 1:14 left after Laster’s second triple. Quentin Jones hit a 20-foot jumper form the left corner with 58 seconds left, but Laster answered 11 ticks later to make it a four-point game.
Garner turned the ball over on a Cormier steal, and Later canned his fourth three in a span of 41 seconds to get the Greyhounds within a point, 76-75, with 42 seconds left. Loyola forced a missed layup by UMBC, and Cormier was fouled with 11 seconds left, and he hit 1-of-2 to tie the score. UMBC’s Rodney Elliott drew contact and a foul call with 3.1 seconds showing, but the freshman missed both foul shots, forcing overtime.
In the extra period, Loyola made 4-of-5 field goals and 5-of-8 free throws to pull away for the victory.
Start Of The Smith Era
G.G. Smith was named the 20th head coach in Loyola University Maryland men’s basketball history on April 12, 2013. Her garnered his first head coaching win on November 8, 2013, in the season-opener against Binghamton.
The 1999 graduate of the University of Georgia spent the last six seasons as an assistant coach at Loyola for Jimmy Patsos who took the head coaching position at Siena College in March.
Loyola amassed a 106-87 record (.549) during Smith’s six years as an assistant. The 106 wins and the .549 winning percentage are the best of any six-year stretch during Loyola’s Division I history (since 1982-1983).
As a player, Smith was a three-year starter and four-year letterwinner for the Bulldogs from 1995-1999. Smith helped the Bulldogs advance to the 1996 NCAA Sweet 16 and another tournament appearance in 1997. He left Georgia as the school’s career leader in games played (129), wins in a season (24) and 3-pointers in a game (nine).
Smith is the son of current Texas Tech University Head Coach Tubby Smith. The elder Smith led the University of Kentucky to the 1998 NCAA Championship and is in his 23rd season as a head coach. G.G. Smith played for his father from 1995-1997 at Georgia.
Look Back At 2012-2013
Loyola finished the 2012-2013 season with a 23-12 record, marking the first time in the school’s Division I history (since 1982-1983) that the Greyhounds have posted back-to-back 20-win seasons.
The Greyhounds finished their final season in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with a 12-6 mark, tying for second place.
After falling in the first round of the MAAC Championships, Loyola its first-ever bid tot he CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. Following the Greyhounds’ 2012 appearance in the NCAA Tournament, it was the first consecutive postseason bids in school Division I history and the first since 1953 in any division of competition.
Erik Etherly and Dylon Cormier became the first set of Loyola teammates to be named to the All-MAAC First Team in the same year.
As a team, the Greyhounds were slated to finish fifth in the Patriot League Preseason poll, just six points out of third place. Boston University was the unanimous pick to win the league, followed by Lafayette, Army, Bucknell, Loyola, Lehigh, Holy Cross, Colgate, American and Navy.
Dylon Cormier was one of five players on the Preseason All-Patriot League Team.
Brito, Laster Spend Summer Overseas
Two Loyola players, – Denzel Brito and Eric Laster – gained valuable experience playing overseas during the summer of 2013.
Brito trained with the Cape Verdean National Team prior to their play in the FIBA African Championships. However, due to a FIBA exclusion, he was not able to participate in the event itself.
Laster played in five games on a tour that visited Belgium, England and The Netherlands. He was lauded for his wing play by writers who covered the events against professional teams in those countries.
Cormier On The Charts
Dylon Cormier enters his senior season at Loyola with a chance to climb many of the Greyhounds’ career statistical charts. Here is a look at where he stands:
Scoring 8th 1,550 points Next Mike Powell, 1,580 Field Goals Made 13th 511 field goals made Next Morris Cannon, 526 3-Pointers Made 13th 94 3-Pt. Made Next B.J. Davis, 104 Free Throws Made 5th 434 free throws made Next Kevin Green, 438 Assists 21st 197 assists Next R.J. Williams (active), 196 Steals 3rd 171 steals Next Tracy Bergan, 177
Into The Fold
Loyola signed three high school seniors in the early signing period to comprise its Class of 2018.
Forward Cam Gregory (Waldorf, Md./St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes) and guards Chancellor Barnard (Columbia, Md./Glenelg Country School) and Colton Bishop (Winston-Salem, N.C./Forsyth County Day School) will join the program in the fall.
For more on the trio, visit http://loyo.la/MBB-NLIs-13.
The Loyola men’s basketball team scored the highest amongst squads in the State of Maryland in the most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate report. The Greyhounds checked in with a 91-percent GSR, tops among the state’s nine Division I schools, for players who entered the school between 2003-2006.
Loyola has a one week break before its next game. The Greyhounds will play at Boston University on Monday, January 20, in a 7:30 p.m. game that will also air on CBS Sports Network.