Career Nights Key National TV Win Over Lafayette
R.J. Williams had his first double-double with 12 poitns and a career-high 10 rebounds, and Dylon Cormier added one with 25 points and 11 rebounds, as Loyola University Maryland downed Lafayette College, 77-63, in Patriot League action Monday.
Wednesday’s game against Lafayette will air live on the Patriot League Network.
The contest, and all of Loyola’s remaining, non-televised home and road games will be streamed, free of charge, in high definition and can be accessed at www.patriotleague.tv.
Series History Versus Lafayette
Loyola and Lafayette will meet for the fourth time in series history and the second this year.
In this year’s first meet, Loyola knocked off the Leopards, 77-63, on January 13, in a game that was broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network.
R.J. Williams (12 points, 10 assists) and Dylon Cormier (25 points, 11 rebounds) both logged double-doubles as the Greyhounds outscored Lafayette, 42-26, in the second half.
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.
Academic Honors For Rassman
Last week, sophomore forward Franz Rassman was named to the Capital One Academic All-America District II Team for his excellence in the classroom.
Rassman, who has started 20-of-21 games and is averaging 5.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, is now eligible for Academic All-America honors along with district honorees from around the nation.
Cormier Has Hand Surgery
Dylon Cormier, the leading scorer in the Patriot League (21.2 points per game) fractured his left hand in a loose-ball scramble on Saturday, February 1, against the U.S. Military Academy, and he had surgery on February 5 to stabilize the break, likely ending his season.
Cormier was also second in the Patriot League in steals (2.2) and fifth in rebounds (5.8) at the time of his injury.
Eric Laster scored a career-high 17 points on February 8 at Lehigh, eclipsing his previous high of 16 set in November at UMBC.
Laster made six field goals, also a career-high, and three free throws, versus the Mountain Hawks. He had four rebounds and three assists for Loyola, too.
Through 23 games, 21 starts, this year, Laster is second on the team with an 8.3 points per game average. He is shooting 40.6 percent from the field and 40 percent form 3-point range. The sophomore also has averaged 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.
Last time against Lafayette, Laster made 5-of-9 shots, 3-of-7 from 3-point range, and finished with 14 points.
In 27 games as a freshman in 2011-2012, Laster averaged 0.8 points and 0.4 rebounds in 5.3 minutes of action per game.
Jordan Latham and Jarred Jones have combined for 11 blocked shots in the last two games for the Greyhounds, helping Loyola take over the Patriot League lead in blocked shots per game (4.1).
Latham had four versus American on Wednesday, and Jones tallied four at Lehigh.
The duo is sixth and seventh, respectively, in blocked shots per game in the Patriot League, averaging 1.3 and 1.2 a contest.
Productive Off The Bench
Jordan Latham has been productive off the bench since moving from the starting lineup three games ago. In those three games, the senior from Baltimore has averaged 10.3 points per game and has back-to-back performances of 10 and 13 against American and Lehigh.
Earlier this season, Latham scored 14 and 12 versus Lehigh and Lafayette, marking the first time in his career he had topped double figures in two-straight games.
This season, Latham is shooting 41.4 percent from the field, but he has made 56.5 percent of his attempts (13-of-23) against Army, American and Lehigh.
He also blocked four shots versus the Eagles, two against the Mountain Hawks. Overall, Loyola is 6-2 this year when Latham blocks two or more shots.
Hubbard Hits From Deep
Tyler Hubbard had one of the best 3-point shooting nights in school history last Wednesday against American, making 6-of-7 attempts on his way to a career-high 20 points.
Hubbard’s six threes are tied for sixth-most in school single-game history, and they were the most since Robert Olson and J’hared Hall both hit six in a game at Manhattan on January 7, 2011.
The sophomore out of Washington, D.C., made three in both halves with his only miss coming in the first. He also made both of his free throw attempts after being fouled with 25 seconds left. He eclipsed his previous career-high of 17 scored on 6-of-7 shooting, 4-of-5 from behind the arc, in a November 14, 2012, game against UMBC.
A week earlier, Hubbard scored his previous season-high of 13 at College of the Holy Cross when he made 4-of-6 from deep. He is now 33-of-82 (40.2 percent) from 3-point range this season and has made at least one three in 19-of-22 games.
Four days after shooting 47.8 percent (11-of-23) from the free-throw line in a loss to Army, the Greyhounds made 8-of-10 free throws in the final minute of action to clinch the win over American. They finished the contest 17-of-22 (77.3 percent) from the charity stripe.
Loyola posted a season-low 17 rebounds last Wednesday night against American, but the Greyhounds also had the distinction of tying the mark for the fewest rebounds in a win by a NCAA Division I team this season (according to Stats, Inc.)
Delaware and Indiana State also had 17 rebounds in wins over College of Charleston and Pepperdine, respectively, this season. Ironically, Delaware’s win with 17 boards came on the same day as Loyola victory over American.
Jones Finds Scoring Note
Jarred Jones led Loyola in scoring for the first time in his career on February 1 against Army, knocking down 7-of-10 shots from the field for 17 points.
The game was Jones second 13-plus point game in the last two weeks, but his last (January 22 at Bucknell) was his first double-digit effort since December.
Jones opened the season with three games of 13 or more points in the Greyhounds’ first four, tallying 22 in the season-opener at Binghamton, 13 at Cornell and 14 at UMBC. In the fourth game of the opening stretch, he scored seven despite being limited to just nine minutes to foul trouble.
The Harford County (Md.) product then had 13 against Catholic and 15 versus Saint Joseph’s, but that output against the Hawks was his last in double-digits until the game at Bucknell (seven games).
In addition to finding his scoring stroke, Jones has also upped his numbers on the defensive side of the court, blocking six shots combined in the last three games.
Against Army, Jones swatted three shots and had two steals, while he also had a pair of blocks against both Bucknell and Holy Cross.
His three against Army were one off his season- and career-high of four set in the season-opener at Binghamton. He is now seventh in the Patriot League in blocked shots per game with 1.2.
Jones is also 10th in the conference in steals per game after nabbing four against American. He averages 1.4 per game with a total of 33.
Gorski Garners Starting Role
Freshman post player Nick Gorski drew his first starting assignment as a collegian last Saturday against Army, and the Richmond, Va., native scored nine points in 22 minutes of action.
The start came on the heels of his first extended playing time since December. He made all three of his field goals and both of his free-throw attempts last Wednesday, finishing with career-highs of nine points and five rebounds in 18 minutes at Holy Cross.
Prior to the last five games Gorski had seen 10 or more minutes just twice this season. He tallied 13 minutes and scored seven points in an overtime win at Cornell, and he then played 16 minutes on December 21 against Saint Joseph’s.
His 18 points in the two games against Holy Cross and Army nearly doubled his previous output this season. He entered the Holy Cross game with 23 points through 16 contests.
Setting Up The Shots
R.J. Williams finished the February 1 game against Army with nine assists, one off his career-high of 10 set on January 13 against Lafayette.
Williams is sixth in the Patriot League in assists per game (4.1). He had 34 assists in eight non-conference games, and he entered January and Patriot League action averaging 3.8 per game. Since then, Williams has 53 assists in 12 games for an average of 4.4.
The junior from Baltimore has also increased his scoring average during Patriot League play. Overall he is averaging 7.7 points per game, 8.0 against conference opponents.
Williams also grabbed a career-high tying seven rebounds on February 1 against Army, bumping his Patriot League average to 3.0 per game.
Gotta Get To The Line
The Greyhounds have seen their most success this season when getting to the free-throw line consistently. They are 6-2 when attempting 25 or more free throws (wins over Binghamton, Cornell, Fairfield, UMBC, Navy and Lafayette; losses to Stony Brook and Saint Joseph’s). In the Loyola’s three other wins, Catholic, Lehigh and Colgate, it took 19, 24 and 18 free throws, respectively.
Overall, Loyola is getting to the free-throw line more than seven fewer times in losses than wins (27.7-19.9).
Away From The Friendly Confines
Loyola lost its 10th straight road game on February 8 at Lehigh after winning its first three this season away from Reitz Arena.
At 3-10 on the road, the Greyhounds are shooting 38.5 percent as opposed to 45.4 percent while going 7-3 at home. Opponents are shooting 46.1 percent in their own facilities, 42.4 percent in Reitz Arena.
Loyola does shoot slightly better from 3-point range on the road, making 32.7 percent of shots from behind the arc as compared to 28.0 at home.
The Greyhounds turn the ball over at a rate of one per game more on the road (12.1-11.2), and they also force an additional turnover at home (14.9-13.5).
With these factors, the Greyhounds are averaging nearly five points less per game on the road, 64.2, to their 71.3 points per game at home.
Dylon Cormier and R.J. Williams both posted double-doubles 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.
The Greyhounds posted 11 steals against American last Wednesday night, marking the fifth time in 12 Patriot League games that they have grabbed 10 or more. Through February 11, Loyola leads the League with 8.6 steals overall.
The 103 steals in its last 12 games have raised Loyola’s Patriot League-leading overall average to 8.6 per game. Through games of February 11, the Greyhounds are ranked 14th nationally in steals per game.
Loyola has had 11 or more steals in eight games through 23 contests.
R.J. Williams leads the Patriot League,and is 14th nationally in steals per game (2.4), while Dylon Cormier is second (2.19) and tied for 26th.
In the January 25 game against Colgate, Cormier had two steals, moving him past Tracy Bergan and into second on the all-time steals list at Loyola. Bergan was in attendance at the game as part of the Greyhounds’ 1994 NCAA Tournament team that was honored that night. He now has 185 in his career.
With 116 in his career, Williams is 11th on the career chart.
Dylon Cormier has been one of the top scorers in the nation this season, averaging 21.2 points per game through 21 and the time of his injury. Through games of Thursday, February 6, Cormier was 13th in the nation in points per game.
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 14 20-plus point games in 21 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.
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 first half of the game at Bucknell, Dylon Cormier hit the 1,600 career points mark, becoming the seventh player in school history to do so, the fifth in the program’s tenure at Division I.
At Boston University, Cormier moved into seventh-place all-time at Loyola in scoring, passing Mike Powell and his 1,580 points. At the time of his injury, Cormier now had 1,659 career points through 115 career games.
Die Hard Dogs
Loyola has trailed or been tied with five minutes to go in regulation in five of its 10 victories this season – Binghamton, Cornell, UMBC, Navy and American – 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.
Through 23 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.
In Loyola’s 13 losses this season, the Greyhounds are shooting more than nine percent worse from the floor than they are in their eight victories.
Loyola has made 47.0 percent (249-of-530) shots in 10 wins versus 37.5 percent (283-of-755) in 13 losses. As a consequence, Loyola is averaging 14 points less (74.8 versus 60.8) points.
As one would expect, opponents are shooting better (46.9-42.5) in the games they’ve won.
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.
Dylon Cormier entered 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 7th 1,659 points Next Mike Krawczyk, 1,676 Field Goals Made 10th 552 field goals made Next Gene Gwiazdowski, 565 3-Pointers Made 13th 96 3-Pt. Made Next B.J. Davis, 104 Free Throws Made 2nd 459 free throws made Next Jim Lacy, 613 Assists 20th 210 assists Next Dave Wojick, 219 Steals 2nd 185 steals Next Jason Rowe, 272
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.