The Greyhounds wrap up play in the 2011-2012 regular-season Sunday, February 26, when they play their final Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game at 4 o’clock against Manhattan College in Riverdale, N.Y.
Loyola and Manhattan will meet for the 53rd time when the teams take the floor Thursday. The Jaspers hold a 31-21 advantage in the all-time series.
The Greyhounds squeezed out a 61-60 victory in the first meeting between the teams on Thursday, January 5. Manhattan took a two-point lead with under a minute to play on a go-ahead jumper by Michael Alvarado with 58 ticks on the clock and a George Beamon free throw shortly thereafter.
Loyola’s Shane Walker inbounded the ball from the baseline, right-to-left, to Cormier who drained a three from the corner to put the Greyhounds ahead with 3.1 seconds left.
Loyola has won eight of the last 10 meetings between the schools dating back to the 2007-2008 season.
The Greyhounds’ victory over Boston University last Sunday was their 20th of the season, setting a school Division I record.
Loyola, which moved to NCAA Division I in 1981-1982, had won 19 games in 2007-2008 and 18 in 2006-2007.
More Than 60 Years
The last time the Loyola men’s basketball program won 20 games in a season, 1948-1949, the following things were going on in the world, 63 years ago:
Harry Truman began his first full term as President of the United States.
Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman premiered on Broadway.
NATO was formed.
The Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League merged to form the NBA.
The first jet-powered airliner, the de Havilland Comet, took flight.
Billy Joel, Joe Theismann, Bruce Springsteen & Meryl Streep were born.
Milestones And Firsts
Loyola has accomplished several milestones and firsts throughout the 2011-2012 season. Here is a sample of a few:
First 20-win season in Division I history.
Tied record with 12 MAAC wins (2006-2007 & 2007-2008).
Tied school Division I record with eight non-conference wins (1993-1994).
Longest winning streak in school Division I history (8, Nov. 14-Dec. 10). Also, second longest winning streak in D-I history (7, Jan. 19-Feb. 10).
First back-to-back sellouts of Reitz Arena since the venue opened in 1984 (Feb. 3 and 10).
Snapped Bucknell’s 18-game home court winning streak.
Back In Balance
During the Greyhounds’ two-game losing streak against Fairfield and Marist, several factors contributed to their demise, including lack of balanced scoring.
In the win over Boston U., four Greyhounds scored 11 or more: Olson (17), Cormier (14), Justin Drummond (12) and Etherly (11).
Loyola is 10-2 this season when four or more players score in double figures, and prior to Friday’s defeat at Rider, it had not lost since the season-opener on November 11 at Wake Forest. The Greyhounds are 19-3 when three or more players top 10.
Transversely, the Greyhounds are just 1-5 when two or fewer players tally 10 or more with the only win coming on December 7 at George Washington.
Second Half Shooting
Loyola started the game making just 3-of-11 shots in the first 12 minutes against Boston University and was only 10-of-29 (.345) from the floor in the first half, but the Greyhounds picked up their percentage drastically in the second half.
Loyola made 15-of-21 shots after the break, going a season-best 71.4-percent from the field in the second half.
Last Time Out
Loyola held Rider’s Novar Gadson scoreless for the first 19 minutes of the second half after the Broncs’ senior had dropped 20 in the first half. Gadson, however, made a turnaround jumper and was fouled with 33.1 seconds left Friday night in Lawrenceville. He made the free throw, and Brandon Penn later connected on two more to secure an 83-79 victory for the Broncs.
Robert Olson rebounded from a subpar shooting performance last Wednesday at Marist with one of his best shooting games as a Greyhound.
Olson scored just four points on 2-of-10 from the field against the Red Foxes, but he missed just one shot (6-of-7) to finish with 17 points against the Red Foxes.
The junior guard made 5-of-6 3-pointers, 4-of-4 in the second half, and also had three assists and four rebounds.
Loyola’s three most recent losses underscored the importance for the Greyhounds of capitalizing on a few areas of the box score.
Seven of Loyola’s eight losses have come when scoring fewer transition points – and the eighth loss was in a game that the teams tied in the category – than its opponents.
The Greyhounds also dropped to 2-6 this year in the eight games they have shot fewer free throws than their opponents, compared to 15-2 when shooting more.
Loyola is also 4-8 when its opponents have a better field-goal percentage, compared to 15-0 when the Greyhounds shoot at a better clip.
Loyola entered the last week of its regular season as one of only two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference teams (Rider) to boast four players with double-figure scoring averages, although the Broncs have six.
Erik Etherly and Robert Olson have been the Greyhounds’ two most consistent scorers since the calendar flipped to 2012, averaging a combined 28.1 points per game since January 5, a span of 15 games in which they are 11-4.
Etherly has scored four more points than Olson during those 15 games, 211-207 and averages 14.3 points to Olson’s 14.0.
Combined, the duo is shooting 51.6-percent from the field (143-of-277). Olson is 44-of-85 (.518) from behind the 3-point line, as well.
Etherly also leads Loyola with a 7.4 rebounds per game mark during the last 15 games, while Olson is third on the team, averaging 3.8.
Tops In Conference Play, Too
Robert Olson and Erik Etherly have also paced the Greyhounds in their 17 MAAC games thus far as the top two scorers. Etherly again is slightly ahead of Olson, scoring-wise, tallying 230 (13.5 per game) points to Olson’s 219 (12.9).
Etherly has averaged 7.5 rebounds in 17 conference games, and Olson is third on the team with an average of 4.0.
Reitz Was Rockin’
The Greyhounds’ games in Reitz Arena against Rider and Iona were both been sellout crowds of 2,100. It marked the first time since Reitz opened in December 1984 that the gym has had back-to-back sellout crowds.
The crowd on February 3 against Rider was the building’s first sellout since November 14, 2008, against Mount St. Mary’s.
Still Crashing The Offensive Boards
The Greyhounds corrected one problem from the loss to Fairfield in which they had just 10 offensive rebounds in 36 opportunities. They pulled down 18 against Marist, their most since grabbing 22 on January 29 at Canisius. Shane Walker led the way with six, while Justin Drummond and Jordan Latham each had three.
Loyola leads the MAAC in offensive rebounding as a team, averaging 13.9, a full rebound more per game that second-place Canisius (12.9).
Despite the team ranking, no Greyhounds player is higher than seventh in the conference in offensive rebounds per game. Erik Etherly is seventh with 2.6, while Drummond is 13th with 2.1, and Walker is 15th with 2.0. No other team in the MAAC has more than two players in the top 15.
Loyola turned in season highs in points (87), field goals made (32) and field goals attempted (63) at home against Iona.
The Greyhounds’ 47 points in the first half were also the most they’ve scored in the first 20 minutes this season and were tied for the most in either half, matching the 47 scored on November 14 against Coppin State in the second half.
It was the first time in the eight-year tenure of Jimmy Patsos as head coach that three or more players have made eight or more baskets in the same game.
Etherly, Cormier Top 20
For the second time this year, Erik Etherly and Dylon Cormier both topped the 20-point mark. The duo also accomplished the feat on November 17 at UMBC when Etherly scored a career-best 27, and Cormier finished with 20.
Against Iona, Etherly and Cormier’s combined 44 points were just over half of the Greyhounds’ 87.
Drummond Raises Efficiency
Justin Drummond had his best shooting night of the season versus Iona, making 8-of-12 shots (.667). Drummond, who shot .446 as a freshman last year, has seen his field-goal percentage dip to .387 this year.
His previous best outing of the season came on December 28 at Bucknell when he was 5-of-8 (.625) from the floor.
Jordan Latham did not play in the Greyhounds’ first meeting with Iona, an 11-point setback, but the sophomore forward made his presence known last Friday night.
He came off the bench and played 14 minutes and had four blocked shots. Three of his blocks were not just redirects, but true swats of the ball. Each of his blocked shots came against different Iona players and in different situations. Twice, Latham swatted shots by driving guards, and he twice denied post players.
The four blocks were a career-high for Latham.
R.J.’s Assists Equal Success
R.J. Williams recorded five assists in the win over Iona, the fourth time this year he’s dished out five or more. The Greyhounds are 7-0 this season in games that Williams has four or more helpers.
As a team, the Greyhounds are 4-0 this year when recorded 15 or more assists.
Six Under Sixty
For the first time in its NCAA Division I history (since 1981-1982), Loyola held six consecutive opponents to fewer than 60 points.
During the span, all Loyola victories, the Greyhounds have held Siena, Saint Peter’s (twice), Niagara, Canisius and Rider to an average of 53.2 points per game.
The Greyhounds previously had held three teams to sub-60 performances just once since joining Division I, and that came during 1981-1982, their first season at this level.
The last time a Loyola team held six-straight teams under 60, regardless of division, came in January-February 1977 when it held six teams in a row – Southampton, Saint Peter’s, Randolph-Macon, Mount St. Mary’s, Baltimore and Philadelphia Textile – to 59 or fewer. The Greyhounds, however, were just 3-3 in that stretch.
During The Six
Loyola’s success during the six games was reflected in several statistics. Opponents were shooting .387, .046 lower than the season average of .433. Also, Loyola held foes to .241 from 3-point range, more than 10 points lower than the season mark of .350.
Following the Greyhounds’ game at Iona on January 15, Loyola was ranked 265th in field-goal percentage defense (.449), 325th in 3-point defense (.389), and 163rd in scoring defense (66.2).
After the six games the Greyhounds to 193rd in field goal percentage defense (.443), 215th in 3-point defense (.350) and 71st in scoring defense (62.8).
Olson’s January, Continued
After a stretch of not scoring in double figures for the last three games of December and the first two in January, Robert Olson was the Greyhounds’ leading scorer during the first month of the new calendar year, averaging 14.1.
In Loyola’s last 14 games, a stretch in which the Greyhounds are 11-3, Olson has averaged a team-best 14.3 points per game, most on the team.
Overall this season, Olson is shooting 46.1-percent from 3-point range, and his 59 threes made this season are 11th in school single-season history. His 3-point field goal percentage currently stands third in school single-season history.
Olson has made 131 threes in his career, good for sixth-best all-time at Loyola, passing Gerald Brown (2006-2008) in the game against Fairfield.
Something Had To Give
Entering the first meeting with Rider, Loyola had held four consecutive opponents to 57 or fewer points, while the Broncs were averaging 87.5 points in their previous three games.
Loyola’s defense prevailed in the contest, holding Rider to 12 points in the first half and just 46 overall. It was the Broncs’ lowest scoring game since February 2008 when Fairfield held them to 40.
Almost 20 Years
Rider’s 46 points were the fewest Loyola has allowed since the Greyhounds defeated Niagara, 68-45, on February 21, 1992, a stretch of 521 games.
Loyola has now held opponents to 49 or fewer points eight times since joining NCAA Division I in 1981-1982. The Greyhounds did it twice each in 1981-1982, 1984-1985 and 1991-1992 and once in 1983-1984.
Tied For fifth In Road Wins
As of the beginning of the week, Loyola’s 10 road wins had them tied for fifth in all of NCAA Division I for victories away from its home court. Cleveland State, Wagner, Iona and Murray State are all tied for first with 11.
Walker Moves Into Second
Shane Walker blocked two Fairfield shots in the first three minutes of the game, and he then swatted a Maurice Barrow layup with 13:58 on the clock, tying him for second all-time at Loyola in blocked shots.
With five blocks against Canisius, Walker now has 124 blocks in his career and is all alone in second place. Brian Carroll (1997-2001) holds the school record with 213.
The 19 steals are the second-most in school history, one more than the Greyhounds posted in a November 29, 1997, game at Kent State. It is also the most Loyola has recorded against a Division I opponent. The school single-game record of 20 came on February 28, 1996, when the team closed the regular-season against St. Mary’s (Md.).
Head Coach Jimmy Patsos became the third coach in Loyola history to win 100 games when the Greyhounds defeated UMBC, 73-63, on the road. Patsos, who is in his eighth season, took over a team that finished 1-27 during the 2002-2003 season. He won his 100th game in his 215th career game.
Last season, Patsos moved into third-place all time at Loyola in victories, trailing only Lefty Reitz (349 wins, 1937-44, 1945-61) and Nap Doherty (165, 1961-74).
Two Of A Kind
Although unofficial, research shows that Jimmy Patsos is one of only two coaches in the last 20 years to take a team that won just one game the year prior to his arrival.
Brigham Young finished the 1996-1997 season with a 1-25 record. Steve Cleveland took over the following season and tallied 138 wins until his departure for Fresno State after the 2004-2005 season.
Men’s & Women’s Coaches With 100
Loyola University Maryland is one of just 26 mid-major schools that has men’s and women’s basketball coaches with 100 or more victories at their current school after Greyhound women’s coach Joe Logan got his 100th on December 18 in a win at George Washington.
Loyola is the only school in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to have accomplished the feat, and it is one of only five institutions at which the coaches have both won 100 or more games in 10 or fewer seasons.
Getting To The Line
As a team, Loyola went to the free-throw line 46 times at UMBC, making 31. The 46 attempts are the sixth-most all-time and most since the 2004-2005 squad attempted 53 on December 5, 2004, against Niagara.
Loyola’s 31 free throws made rank 11th on the school single-game chart and were the most since making 32 on January 14, 2009, versus NJIT.
Although his shot was not falling at UMBC, Dylon Cormier still found ways to be productive on the offensive end of the floor. The sophomore guard was just 2-of-9 from the field, but he went to the free-throw line 17 times, making 15, and finished with 20 points.
Cormier’s 15 free throws made are tied for sixth in Loyola single-game history, matching the total made by Mike Powell at Saint Peter’s on December 6, 1997, and Donovan Thomas against Marist on February 23, 2003. The 15 makes were the most by a Loyola player since Jamal Barney set the school record with 18 on January 14, 2009, against NJIT. His 17 attempts rank tied for sixth all-time.
Baltimore Bred And More From Nearby
Since taking over as head coach in 2004, Jimmy Patsos has put an emphasis on recruiting locally, and it has never shown as much as on this year’s roster. Three players – sophomore guard Dylon Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons), sophomore forward Jordan Latham (City) and freshman guard R.J. Williams (St. Frances) are products of schools within the city limits.
Loyola and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference head to Springfield, Mass., for the 2012 MAAC Championships that will be contested at the MassMutual Center. Opening round action will begin on Friday, March 2, and the Greyhounds will take the court on Saturday, March 3, in a to-be-determined quarterfinal.