Furious Rally Caps CIT First Round Win For Men's Hoops
Loyola University Maryland trailed by 15 twice in the second half, but the Greyhounds allowed visiting Boston University just 16 points in the final 15 minutes of a 70-63 victory in the CIT First Round. The Greyhounds will now host a Second Round game Sunday.
The Greyhounds trailed Lafayette by two, 37-35, at halftime, and the Leopards went up three in the first two minutes of the second half.
Loyola, however, scored the next eight points and did not trail the rest of the way in a 77-63 victory over Lafayette on Monday, January 13.
Dylon Cormier (25 points, 11 rebounds) and R.J. Williams (12 points, 10 assists) recorded double-doubles in the game. Cormier’s was his fourth of the year, while Williams logged the first of his career.
Eric Laster scored 13 of the Greyhounds’ first 17 points in the game’s first five minutes. He finished with 14, and Jordan Latham added 12.
CBS Sports Network
Monday’s game will mark the second in a row that Loyola has appeared 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.
Series History Versus Boston U.
Loyola and Boston U. will meet for the third time in as many years and fourth overall when they take the hardwood on Monday night. It will be the first meeting of the programs in Boston.
The Greyhounds hold a 2-1 advantage in the series as winners of the last two.
Prior to both teams joining the Patriot League for the 2013-2014 season, Loyola hosted the Terriers in 2012 as part of the ESPN Bracketbuster series and 2013 in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
The Terriers won the first meeting, 71-51, in the first round of the Sports Foundation Classic on December 27, 1996, in Tampa, Fla.
In the February 19, 2012, Bracketbuster game at Reitz Arena, Loyola shot 71.4 percent from the field in the second half to distance itself in a 69-56 decision that gave the Greyhounds their 20th win of the season for the first time as a Division I program (since 1981-82). Robert Olson made four 3-pointers after halftime, and five in the game, and finished with 17 to lead Loyola.
Last year, in the CIT First Round on March 19, Loyola trailed the Terriers by as many as 15 points in the second half. The Greyhounds, however, used a 38-16 run over the last 15-plus minutes of the game to beat Boston U., 70-63. Malik Thomas put the Terriers up 15 with 15:32 to play, but the Greyhounds went on their run from there. Dylon Cormier and Robert Olson both scored 16 for Loyola, and R.J. Williams had a then-career-high seven assists.
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.
The Greyhounds have won their last two games – January 11 against Lehigh and two days later versus Lafayette – after going 1-6 in their previous seven.
They have produced two of their three best shooting performances of the season in the games, shooting an even 50 percent against the Mountain Hawks and a season-best 54.9 versus the Leopards.
Combined, Loyola has made 54-of-103 (52.4 percent) of its shots in the wins after shooting 39.2 percent (150-of-383) in its previous seven.
Similarly, Loyola’s opponents are shooting seven-percent worse (42.3 in the last two versus 49.3).
Rebounding On The Boards
Loyola also outrebounded Lehigh and Lafayette by an average of 8.5 in the two victories. In the seven prior games, Loyola was being outrebounded by 7.1 a contest. The Greyhounds outrebounded a team just once (Navy by 2) during that stretch.
Loyola had its biggest positive rebounding margin of the season last Monday against Lafayette, grabbing 38 to the Leopards’ 23.
The Greyhounds improved to 5-2 this season when outrebounding opponents.
Jordan Latham and Dylon Cormier, the Greyhounds’ two senior starters, have been at the front of the Greyhounds’ wins against Lehigh and Lafayette.
The pair shot 63.3 percent from the field (31-of-49) in the games, averaging a combined 38 points.
Cormier scored 25 in each of the games, while Latham put together the first back-to-back double-figure scoring games of his career, finishing with a season-high 14 against the Mountain Hawks and 12 versus Lafayette.
They have also been the Greyhounds’ top two rebounds in the wins. Latham had six boards in both games, while Cormier had 11 against Lafayette and eight versus Lehigh.
Williams had a career-high 10 assists on Monday night versus the Leopards, logging his first career double-double in the process with 12 points.
In the last two games, Williams has a 3:1 assist:turnover ratio (15:5), and he is also averaging 10 points and five rebounds.
He matched his career-high by going to the free-throw line eight times against Lehigh, and he then quickly broke that with nine attempts versus Lafayette. His 17 free-throw attempts in the two games are also tops on the team.
Lower Volume, Higher Efficiency
While Dylon Cormier has scored 25 points in each of the Greyhounds’ last two games, he done so with much more efficiency that in the past several games.
Versus Lafayette, Cormier made 73.3 percent of his shot attempts (11-of-15). That came after a 10-fo-18 performance versus the Mountain Hawks.
In Loyola’s four previous games – Miami, Navy, Army and American – Cormier had made just 33.8 percent of his shots (21-of-62). That included a game in which he made 10 at Army, but with 25 attempts.
In the seven games prior to the current two-game winning streak, Cormier was just 4-of-26 (15.4 percent) from 3-point range. Against Lehigh and Lafayette, however, he has attempted just one from behind the arc.
Dylon Cormier and R.J. Williams both posted double-doubles last Monday against Lafayette, as Cormier went for 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Williams posted 12 points and a career-best 10 assists.
It was the first time since an 88-85 overtime win against Iona College on January 30, 2011, that two Loyola players completed the feat in the same game. Erik Etherly (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Justin Drummond (14 points, 10 rebounds) managed it on that day.
Williams’ 10 assists were the most by a Greyhounds’ player since Brian Rudolph dished out 10 on February 27, 2011, in the regular-season finale at Canisius College.
Seems Simple, But...
Loyola’s wins came in no small part to better shooting percentage, and a big key to that was converting on the shortest of shots. The Greyhounds made 72.7 percent (32-of-44) of layups, dunks and tip-ins against Lehigh and Lafayette after making just 59.6 percent (28-of-47) in their previous two games at Army and American. This led to Loyola scoring 74 points in the paint in the two victories.
Cormier To The Glass
Dylon Cormier led, or tied for the team lead, for the ninth time this season with 11 rebounds against Lafayette. Six of the Greyhounds’ eight wins this season have come when Cormier leads the team on the boards.
This season, Cormier leads the Greyhounds with 6.3 rebounds per game, a total that ranks tops among Patriot League guards and fifth overall.
He is also the top offensive rebounder in the conference, averaging 3.4 per game, a mark that is 0.9 better than any other player in the League.
Cormier has 101 total rebounds this year, with a nearly 5:4 ratio (54-47) coming on the offensive end.
The Greyhounds posted 11 or more steals in each of their first three Patriot League games, and they had five versus Lehigh, six versus Lafayette.
The 49 steals in its last five games have raised Loyola’s Patriot League-leading average to 8.9 per game. Through games of January 15, the Greyhounds are ranked 17th nationally in steals per game.
Loyola has had 11 or more steals in seven games through 16 contests.
R.J. Williams leads the Patriot League,and is tied for 10th nationally in steals per game (2.7), while Dylon Cormier is second (2.2) and tied for 38th.
Williams posted a career-high six, tied for fifth-most in school single-game history, at Army.
Cormier now has 174 in his career, and he is three away from tying Tracy Bergan for second all-time at Loyola in career thefts. With 101 in his career, Williams is tied for 16th on the career chart.
Cormier’s Start To The Season
Dylon Cormier has started the season scoring in bunches, averaging 22.6 points per game through 16. Through games of Wednesday, January 15, 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 12 20+ point games in 16 contests, and he has recorded 25 or more eight times.
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 also 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 1,575 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 16 games, Cormier has gone to the free-throw line 150 times (fifth in Division I through games of January 5). His average of 9.4 free throws per game is also fifth 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 281 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 437-of-621 from the free-throw line. He is third in school history in free throws attempted and fourth in free throws made.
Last Five Focus
In Loyola’s eight victories this season, it has outscored its opponents 19.0-12.0 in the final five minutes of the games.
The Greyhounds have shot 56.7 percent from the field and 50.0 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 40 minutes, Loyola has committed just 13 turnovers to its opponents’ 25. Seventeen of the opponent turnovers have been from Loyola steals.
Jordan Latham tied his career-high with four blocks against Navy, and Loyola matched its season-best with seven.
With two blocks against Lafayette moved Latham’s career total to 76. Against the Leopards, he moved past Omari Israel and into a tie with Jawaan Wright for fifth all-time at Loyola in career swats.
Back In The Win Column
Loyola’s come-from-behind win over Navy on January 2 was 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 eight 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.
Through 16 games this season, the Greyhounds are averaging 2.6 fewer turnovers per game than their opponents, tops in the Patriot League and 35th in the nation.
Loyola has committed 192 turnovers to its opponents 234, and the margin is even greater in the second half of games, as opponents have 51 more turnovers (125-74).
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 9.3 points in Loyola’s first 16 contests, and he is shooting 42.6 percent (26-of-61) 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.
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 1,575 points Next Mike Powell, 1,580 Field Goals Made 13th 522 field goals made Next Morris Cannon, 526 3-Pointers Made 13th 94 3-Pt. Made Next B.J. Davis, 104 Free Throws Made 4th 437 free throws made Next Kevin Green, 438 Assists 21st 199 assists Next Mike Morrison, 200 Steals 3rd 174 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 will make a quick turnaround during a strange road trip. The Greyhounds fly back to Baltimore on Tuesday morning before heading to Lewisburg, Pa., for a Wednesday, January 21, game at Bucknell University.