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Griffs, Greyhounds Meet On MASN Sunday At Noon
JESUIT BASKETBALL SPOTLIGHT: For the third consecutive year, Loyola is participating in the Jesuit Basketball Spotlight which uses Jesuit basketball to raise awareness of Jesuit education. The sixth of those seven contests in which the Greyhounds will compete against a fellow Jesuit institution is today with both Loyola and Canisius deriving from Jesuit roots. The Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project highlights games between men's and women's teams from the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities across the United States. Jesuit Catholic colleges and universities in the United States have more than 200,000 students currently and more than 1.7 million living alumni. For more information on Jesuit higher education in the United States, go to www.ajcunet.edu.
LOYOLA-CANISIUS SERIES HISTORY: Canisius leads the series, 33-19, and has won the last four. The four Golden Griffins victories snapped a Loyola five-game winning streak, its longest stretch in the series. The Greyhounds had won four straight in Reitz Arena before Canisius posted consecutive February victories the last two years.
LAST TIME OUT: Niagara's Anthony Nelson banked in a driving layup with 15.1 to play to give the Purple Eagles the lead for good and Niagara posted a 59-57 MAAC road win Friday night over the Greyhounds. Sophomore guard Robert Olson hit a three-pointer with 39.2 remaining to give Loyola a 57-56 lead before Nelson answered. Olson missed a three-pointer with seven seconds left and Niagara made one of a two-shot foul with 5.5 ticks for a two-point cushion. Senior guard Brian Rudolph raced up court and his layup attempt was short with Niagara grabbing the rebound. Junior forward Shane Walker led Loyola in scoring with 17 points and sophomore forward Erik Etherly added 13.
WHOM DO YOU GUARD?: The Greyhounds have prided themselves on sharing the basketball and having balanced scoring. Seven Loyola players are averaging 8.1 points per game or better, nine have reached double digits in scoring and six of those have topped the 20-point barrier. In the overtime win over Iona, six Greyhounds reached double figures - and neither of Loyola's top two scorers dressed for the game. It was the first time a Loyola team had six double-digit scorers since six Greyhounds tallied 10 or more in a 98-94 overtime home win over Mount St. Mary's on December 6, 1991. In addition to that outing, Loyola has recorded five or more players with double-figure scoring three times this year after five Greyhounds scored 11 or more in Monday's win at Siena.
ETHERLY POSTS FOURTH DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Sophomore forward Erik Etherly collected a second straight and the fourth double-double of his career at Rider. He finished with 16 points - one off his career-high - and a career-best 15 rebounds. In the overtime win over Iona in the game prior, he recorded 14 points and 11 rebounds while playing a career-best 40 minutes. Earlier in January he scored 14 points with 13 rebounds at Manhattan and his first career double-double came in December with 12 points and 10 rebounds at Howard. Monday at Siena, he tied for team-high honors with 15 points and recorded a career-best five blocked shots with two steals, an assist and no turnovers. After Friday night's 13-point effort, he has reached double figures in five straight games. In his last 16 games, he is averaging 10.9 points and 8.4 rebounds while shooting 54.7 percent from the field (64-117). Included among those contests are a pair of perfect performances from the floor - seven-for-seven against Mount St. Mary's and four-for-four at Howard. The effort against the Mountaineers resulted in a career-high 17 points and matched the second-best shooting performance in school history. He leads the team in rebounding (7.6 rpg), is second in blocked shots (29) and is third in scoring (9.8 ppg).
WALKER JUST MISSING DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Junior forward Shane Walker just missed collecting his sixth career double-double during a stretch of three games, lacking either a rebound or a point in each. Against Siena, he was one board shy with 10 points. In the win at Marist, he corralled 12 rebounds, but scored just nine points as he battled second-half foul trouble. And in the home win over Manhattan, he scored 13 points with nine boards. He did not dress for the overtime win over Iona and scored just three points while grabbing 10 rebounds at Rider. To that point, he had scored eight points or more in 12 straight appearances, and had grabbed eight or more rebounds in 12 of 14. Monday at Siena, he scored 13 points with five rebounds, an assist and a steal and followed that with 17 points and six rebounds Friday against Niagara. He collected the fourth and fifth double-doubles of his career in early December. After his double-double at George Mason, he followed that with a double-double against Mount St. Mary's for his first at home after his previous four had come on the road. The team's leading scorer (11.0 ppg) and second-leading rebounder (7.5 rpg), he is averaging 12.9 points in his last 15 games and 8.9 rebounds in his last 16 outings.
DRUMMOND DELIVERS DEBUT DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Freshman guard Justin Drummond has come off the bench to score in double figures in six of the last nine games and in the overtime win over Iona he added a career-high 10 rebounds to his 14 points for his first career double-double. He also added a career-best four blocked shots while playing 24 minutes. He is averaging 10.1 points over his last nine games and has connected on two or more three-pointers in six of seven contests. Monday at Siena, his back-to-back three-pointers ignited a run of 12 straight Loyola points to take the lead for good. He scored nine points Friday against Niagara. His effort against the Gaels, combined with his team-leading 12 points against Siena, earned him his third MAAC Rookie of the Week award. He ignited the second-half comeback in the home win over Fairfield as his seven straight points started a 16-5 run that turned a nine-point deficit into a two-point lead. After not dressing for the first eight games of the season awaiting medical clearance, he was the team's leading scorer in back-to-back road games in Washington, D.C., in December to earn consecutive MAAC Rookie of the Week honors. His 21 points at Georgetown is tied for the third-highest point total by a Loyola player this season and he is the second freshman to reach the 20-point plateau after guard Dylon Cormier scored 20 in the win over UMBC.
OLSON PROVIDES LATE-GAME HEROICS AGAIN: For the third time this season, sophomore guard Robert Olson provided late-game heroics to lift Loyola to a win, the latest being his clutch performance in the overtime win over Iona. After a scoreless first half, he tallied his second three-pointer of the game with 7.2 seconds remaining to tie the game and force overtime. In the extra session, his driving layup with 41.4 remaining gave Loyola the lead for good and his two free throws with 13.9 seconds ended the scoring and provided the final margin. He matched career-bests with seven rebounds and five assists while playing a career-high 36 minutes. Earlier in January, he scored 19 points over the final 8:22 of Loyola's win at Marist and he ended November with nine points in 83 seconds to give Loyola the lead for good in the win at Morgan State. Eight of his 19 points against the Red Foxes came in four perfect trips to the foul line to seal the game and equal the 16th-best effort in school history. At Rider, he matched game-high honors with 17 points while adding four assists and four steals with no turnovers in 36 minutes. Monday at Siena, he was efficient with 15 points on four-of-eight shooting from the field and five-of-six from the foul line. After connecting on just one three-pointer in the four games prior, he made two or more three-pointers in five straight games before connecting on just one Friday night. During that five-game stretch, he averaged 14.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting 46.7 percent (21-45) from the field, 42.3 percent (11-26) from three-point range and 90.0 percent (18-20) from the foul line.
RUDOLPH MATCHES CAREER-HIGH: Senior guard Brian Rudolph continues to showcase his leadership skills on and off the court. With Loyola's leading scorer sidelined, he matched his career-high with 19 points while playing a career-best 44 minutes in the overtime victory over Iona. He also directed an offense that put six Greyhounds in double figures - the first time that has happened under Greyhounds seventh-year head coach Jimmy Patsos. His penetration drew the defender on the game-tying three-pointer at the end of regulation on which he got the assist and his defense forced a missed final shot by the Gaels. It was the second time in two weeks he was part of the decisive game-ending plays. Despite being held scoreless in the second half at Saint Peter's to that point, he forced a Peacocks' miss by Nick Leon with nine seconds remaining, grabbed the defensive rebound and raced up court to set up and sink the game-winning basket with a floater from the lane with one-half second left. It was his first game-winning bucket at Loyola. Those efforts continued the string of solid outings he has posted in his final season. He did not miss a shot from the floor in the home win over UMBC, scoring eight points off the bench to go along with three rebounds, three assists and a steal, becoming the fourth player in Loyola history to surpass 400 career assists in that outing. Five times this season he has collected six assists in a game and his five assists at Rider moved him into second place all-time on the Loyola career assists list and now has 497. When he took the floor in December against Saint Peter's, he became the 41st person in Greyhounds history to play in 100 career games. He is four appearances away from becoming the school's all-time leader in games played.
HALL'S SHOOTING LEADING TO WINS: With a reputation as a scorer who can shoot, junior guard J'hared Hall showcased those skills off the bench over a stretch of 10 games. At Manhattan, he made six field goals - four of them from three-point range - and added a free throw on a conventional three-point play to establish a career high with 17 points in 11 minutes to keep the Greyhounds in the game. He added two three-pointers in the second half to finish with 23, ending eight of 10 from the field and six of eight from three-point range after entering the game making 13.0 percent (3-23) for three-pointers on the season. The six three-pointers knocked down by both he and sophomore guard Robert Olson matched the sixth-best single-game total in school history last turned in by Brett Harvey in November 2008. At Iona, in his only start during the stretch, he responded with a 17-point outing, making six of his 10 shots from the field and four of his six attempts from three-point range. He followed that with a team-high 17 points in the home win over Fairfield, including a three-pointer with 2:01 left to give Loyola the lead for good. At Saint Peter's, he scored all 15 of his points on three-pointers during a stretch of just over 10 minutes during the second half to erase an 11-point deficit. In the home win over the Jaspers, he scored five straight points during the decisive second-half run, finishing with 12. And at Marist, his 11 first-half points helped the Greyhounds build a 40-28 halftime lead, finishing with 16 points on six-of-nine shooting. He had his first off-night from the field of the month, but still finished with 10 points against Siena. He was back to form with 15 points in the overtime win over Iona, including a perfect five-for-five from the foul line. His streak of eight double-digit scoring games ended at Rider as he finished with five points, but he bounced back to score 11 points in the win Monday at Siena. He was limited to just three shots and four points Friday against Niagara. For his last 11 games, he is averaging 13.2 points while shooting 53.9 percent from the field (48-89) and 51.9 percent from three-point range (28-54).
CORMIER MAKES HIS RETURN: After missing two straight games with an illness, freshman guard Dylon Cormier made his return to the lineup in the January home win over Marist and started and scored 10 points. He followed that with 11 points at Manhattan and 10 points at Iona. The efforts gave him four straight double-figure scoring games since not scoring in the December win over Mount St. Mary's. He has scored seven points or more in 15 of his 22 appearances and has reached double digits in nine of those after his 12-point outing in the overtime win over Iona. He has reached double figures in six of his MAAC contests. He put on quite the shooting display in the home win over UMBC, leading Loyola to its first victory of the season. He missed just one shot of all three varieties, making four of five two-point shots, one of two three-point shots and nine of 10 free throws for a career-high 20 points. The last previous Loyola freshman to score 20-plus points in a game was Robert Olson's 20-point outing last January in a win over Marist. Cormier added five assists, two assists and a steal while playing 30 minutes.
IVIS PROVIDES QUALITY MINUTES: Greyhounds head coach Jimmy Patsos was looking for a spark during the first half of Monday's win at Siena, and junior forward Paolo Ivis delivered. Playing six minutes during two stints on the floor, he swished a pair of free throws to tie the game at 30-30 with 5:20 left in the half and also blocked the shot of MAAC Preseason Player of the Year Ryan Rossiter. He was one-for-three from the foul line in his career before stepping up and knocking down a pair.
WIEGAND GETS START: With junior forward Shane Walker not dressing against Iona, junior center Josh Wiegand got his first start of the season. He responded with four points and three rebounds in a career-high 19 minutes. He made five starts as a freshman in 2008-2009 with the Greyhounds winning three of the five. His career record as a starter now stands at 4-2 after that win.
BLOCKING THE PATH: Loyola matched a team record with 10 blocked shots in Monday's win at Siena, equaling a mark previously set in December 1999 and matched in January 2007. Interestingly, not one block was recorded by junior forward Shane Walker, who leads the team with 41 blocks this season for a total that ranks seventh all-time for a single season. Sophomore forward Erik Etherly accounted for half of the Loyola total for a career-best five. Junior guard J'hared Hall matched his career-high with two and junior forward Paolo Ivis, sophomore guard Robert Olson and freshman guard Justin Drummond rejected one shot each. Four times this season, Loyola has posted seven blocked shots in a game, tying for the 22nd-best totals for a game in history.
DRUMMOND NAMED MAAC ROOKIE OF THE WEEK FOR THIRD TIME: For the third time this season, freshman guard Justin Drummond was named the MAAC Rookie of the Week it was announced on January 31 by the conference office. After leading Loyola in scoring with 12 points against Siena, he posted his first career double-double in the overtime win over Iona, scoring 14 points with career-highs for rebounds (10) and blocked shots (4). He is the first MAAC freshman to be honored three times this season and only Fairfield's Maurice Barrow and Niagara's Marvin Jordan have been honored twice. He earned consecutive awards in December after scoring a career-high 21 points at No. 15 Georgetown and following that with 17 points at Howard. His recognition makes him the fifth current Greyhound to be so honored and second this season joining classmate Dylon Cormier. The three prior to this season all were named to the MAAC All-Rookie Team and current senior guard Brian Rudolph was named the MAAC Co-Rookie of the Year following his freshman campaign.
BRACKETBUSTERS OPPONENT ANNOUNCED: The Greyhounds found out at the end of January that they would be able to sleep in their own beds as a predetermined road team for the annual BracketBusters event, being assigned to a game at nearby Towson. The game was not one of those selected for television. The February 19 game will be a 7 o'clock start at the Towson Center. The matchup will be the 70th in the series history with Loyola leading, 42-27. Loyola is 3-2 in five previous February matchups in the event and 1-1 as the road team.
REFLECTING ON JANUARY SUCCESS: The consecutive wins to open January continued a trend for the Greyhounds during the year's first month. For the fifth time in six seasons, Loyola won its first conference game of the New Year and the Greyhounds' January record is 32-17 (.653) over the last five seasons. Prior to last year, Loyola pieced together six-game winning streaks running through January in the previous two seasons and in 2006-2007 the Greyhounds won six straight conference contests in January.
MORE JANUARY SUCCESS STORIES: Greyhounds seventh-year head coach Jimmy Patsos engineered one of the best month-to-month turnarounds in NCAA Division I by leading Loyola to a 7-2 record in January. That mark came on the heels of a 1-6 December record that had the Greyhounds 4-8 entering the New Year. Three teams that were winless in December all had better winning percentage differentials for January than the Greyhounds' .635 increase. Loyola's 7-2 January record was second-best in the MAAC, trailing only the 8-1 mark posted by first-place Fairfield. The one Stags loss came at the hands of the Greyhounds.
GREYHOUNDS EXCEL IN OVERTIME UNDER PATSOS: The overtime win over Iona improved the Greyhounds to 6-1 in extra sessions under seventh-year head coach Jimmy Patsos. His 85.7 winning percentage in overtime games is tops at Loyola since the program elevated to Division I in 1981-1982. His win total is matched only by Mark Amatucci, who suffered five defeats as well.
GREYHOUNDS POST SIXTH STRAIGHT 10-WIN SEASON: With the win at Marist, Greyhounds seventh-year head coach Jimmy Patsos recorded his sixth straight season of 10 wins or more, becoming the first Loyola coach to accomplish that feat since Hall of Famer Nap Doherty led Loyola to six straight 10-win seasons between 1968-1969 and 1973-1974. After taking over a 1-27 program, Patsos won six games in his first season and has reached double digits each year since. Hall of Famer Lefty Reitz ran off a string of 15 consecutive double-figure victory seasons during his 23-year career.
WALKER EARNS SECOND MAAC CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD: For the second time this season, junior forward Shane Walker was named MAAC Co-Player of the Week by the conference office on January 24. Helping the Greyhounds to a 3-0 week, Walker averaged 13.7 points and 9.7 rebounds while leading Loyola in scoring in two of the games and rebounding in all three. He shared the award with Fairfield's Derek Needham. Walker became the third MAAC player this season to be honored two or more times by the conference office, joining Ryan Rossiter of Siena and Iona's Mike Glover. Rider's Justin Robinson has since joined that group. Earlier this season, he posted consecutive double-doubles while averaging 18.0 points and 10.0 rebounds to receive his first acknowledgement on December 12, sharing that award with Glover.
GREYHOUNDS RECORD THREE-WIN WEEK: For the first time in 14 seasons, the Greyhounds won three MAAC games in a Monday-Sunday week when they posted wins at Saint Peter's and Marist around the home win over Manhattan last week. During February 1997, Loyola won at Siena on Tuesday the 18th and finished with home wins over Saint Peter's on Friday the 21st and Fairfield on Sunday the 23rd. Prior to that in February 1992, the Greyhounds opened the week with a Monday win at Saint Peter's on the 17th and ended with home victories over Niagara on Friday the 21st and Fairfield on Sunday the 23rd. Loyola last won three games in a week between Wednesday and Sunday with home triumphs over New Jersey Institute and Marist around a win at Manhattan between January 14-18, 2009.
PATSOS JOINS SELECT GROUP: When he took the sidelines for the home game with Manhattan, seventh-year head coach Jimmy Patsos coached his 200th game at Loyola, becoming just the fourth person in the 101-year history of the program to reach that milestone. He moved into No. 3 at Marist. Already ranking third in career victories with his November win at Morgan State and now owning 93, he trails only Hall of Famers Lefty Reitz and Nap Doherty in games coached at Loyola.
STREAK-SNAPPING VICTORY: The win over Fairfield snapped a couple of streaks for both teams. The loss was the first for the Stags since November, ending an 11-game winning streak. Also, Fairfield had won 12 straight over the Greyhounds in Reitz Arena before that game as Loyola last posted a home win in the series in January 1998. In the first game of the nationally televised doubleheader, Loyola's women's team ended a nine-game losing streak with its two-point win over Fairfield, making it a streak-ending night for both teams.
FAST TIMES IN REITZ ARENA: The Greyhounds had raced out to fast starts in their three home games before the Fairfield game as they rode hot shooting and stingy defense. The stretch started with the December win over Mount St. Mary's when Loyola made eight of its first 11 shots while holding the Mountaineers to 1-10 shooting in sprinting out to an 18-4 lead seven minutes into the 65-42 win. In closing the month against Bucknell, the Greyhounds jumped ahead 12-2 by making five of their 10 attempts while the Bison misfired on their first five tries six minutes into the contest. And the 83-67 win over Marist to open 2011, Loyola connected on 10 of 13 shots while the Red Foxes made just three of nine to lift the Greyhounds to a 25-6 lead six-and-a-half minutes into the game. For that stretch of nearly 20 minutes of play, Loyola shot 67.6 percent from the field (23-34) while holding opponents to 16.7 percent (4-24) and outscoring them 55-12. Fairfield turned the tables by jumping ahead 13-4, but Loyola regrouped and posted the one-point win.
ROCKIN' WITH THE EIGHTIES: For the first time since February 2008, Loyola posted consecutive games scoring in the 80s with its wins over Marist and Manhattan to open January. The Greyhounds broke the 80-point mark in three straight MAAC games from February 7-16, 2008, collecting wins over Saint Peter's and Siena sandwiched around a loss to Niagara. After Sunday's 88-point effort in the overtime win over Iona, Loyola now has four 80-point games this season, its most since the 2007-2008 team reached 80 or more nine times with a team than won 19 games and featured four players who scored more than 990 points in their careers.
THE DEFENSE DOESN'T REST: Despite some mediocre scoring outings early in the season, the Greyhounds were playing consistently good defense. That was never more evident than in the win over Mount St. Mary's when Loyola held an opponent below 50 points for the first time this season. The 42 points are the fewest for a Greyhounds opponent since holding Dartmouth to 41 points in a 58-41 win on November 24, 2009. Loyola is 11-2 when holding an opponent under 50 points since 1983-1984.
WALK-ONS WALK ON TO THE COURT: Both walk-ons have seen their share of playing time thus far this season. Sophomore guard Luke Wandrusch has made 10 appearances this season and freshman forward Chido Onyiuke has received playing time in eight contests. Wandrusch scored a bucket late in the game at Georgetown, but Onyiuke has yet to take a shot from the field.
GETTING TO THE LINE AND MAKING THEM: The Greyhounds were able to largely overcome an early eight-point deficit and remain in the game in the win over UMBC by their successes at the free-throw line. Loyola connected on its first 12 foul shots and finished the game with 29 made free throws - tied for the 16th highest total in school history. The success should not come as a huge surprise as the Greyhounds twice in the last three years have ranked among the top seven nationally in team free-throw percentage - seventh in 2007-2008 (.768) and fifth in 2008-2009 (.776).
THE FIVE `W'S: Any good newsman knows the five "W's". At Loyola, they are Walker, Wandrusch, Wiegand, Williams and Winbush. According to independent research, the Greyhounds are one of two teams in NCAA Division I with five players possessing last names that start with "W". The other is Texas-San Antonio. Barring some unique recruiting at other places or attrition in either program, both will hold the same claim next year as all 10 players are underclassmen.
STARTING LINEUP: Various injuries and illnesses have forced the Greyhounds to test out eight different starting lineups this season with the starts rotating among nine players. Last year, 11 of the 13 eligible players received starts with only first-year player Paolo Ivis and mid-season walk-on addition Luke Wandrusch not making starts.
BARNEY RECEIVES SECOND-TEAM NOD: For the second consecutive season, the MAAC coaches selected senior guard Jamal Barney to a spot on the Preseason All-MAAC Second Team. Again, he was the only Loyola player to receive preseason recognition. The leading scorer in the league at 18.1 points as a sophomore, Barney was All-MAAC Second Team following that first season in a Greyhounds uniform.
GREYHOUNDS PICKED SIXTH BY COACHES: Loyola was tabbed for sixth in MAAC preseason balloting by the league's coaches announced in October. Last year's runner-up Fairfield collected six of the first-place votes to rank first followed by three-time defending champion Siena and its three votes while one vote was cast for Saint Peter's. Iona placed four points behind the Peacocks to land fourth and the Greyhounds trailed fifth-place Rider by four votes as well.
GREYHOUNDS ON THE TUBE: Six Loyola contests will receive national or regional television exposure this season and that number could swell to as many as nine via advancement through the MAAC Tournament. The final regular-season televised game of the year is today with a matchup that will be carried live locally on MASN.
ESPN RADIO 1300 HOME TO GREYHOUNDS AGAIN: For the fourth consecutive season, Baltimore's ESPN Radio 1300 will be the home for select Loyola radio games. All home games not picked up by ESPN Radio 1300 will be live streamed via Greyhounds All Access on www.LoyolaGreyhounds.com. The final regular-season broadcast on ESPN Radio 1300 is Wednesday when Loyola hosts Rider on Senior Night. Today's game will be carried on Greyhounds All Access with Rachel Klein (play-by-play) and Jim Chivers (analyst) calling the action.
GREYHOUNDS ALL-ACCESS: Once again this season, any home game not selected for television will be made available on live video streaming through Greyhounds All Access. The final offering of the season is Wednesday when Loyola welcomes Rider to Reitz Arena for Senior Night. Games can be accessed via www.LoyolaGreyhounds.com.
FOLLOW LOYOLA ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER: Loyola Athletics continues to provide updates on all the Greyhounds teams via its Facebook and Twitter sites. Greyhounds followers can get immediate news via Facebook.com/LoyolaHounds and Twitter.com/LoyolaHounds.
NEXT UP FOR LOYOLA: Today is the penultimate home game of the season with only Wednesday's home finale against Rider remaining on the slate. That will also be Senior Night as senior guard Brian Rudolph and senior manager Dan Gallo will be celebrated prior to the game. Loyola will finish the campaign with three straight road games before entering the MAAC Championships in early March.