Loyola University Maryland takes on College of the Holy Cross on Wednesday, February 26, at 7:30 p.m. in its final regular-season home game of 2013-2014.
Prior to the game, the Greyhounds will hold a brief senior day ceremony, honoring three players - Dylon Cormier, Jordan Latham and Chido Onyiuke - and manager Zan Cheema. The event will start at approximately 7:20 p.m.
The Greyhounds return to Reitz Arena where they are shooting more than six percent better than when playing on the road (.449-.384).
Jordan Latham has enjoyed the confines of his home court most of all. In 12 games in Reitz, he is averaging 9.8 points as opposed to 5.6 on the road.
Last Time Out
Denzel Brito's three with less than seven minutes to play in the first half at Colgate University gave the Greyhounds a 25-24 lead on Sunday, but the Raiders scored 20 of the half's final 25 points to go on to an 84-60 victory.
Brito's bucket marked the fourth lead change of the first half, but Murphy Burnatowski quickly gave Colgate the lead back with a three of his own at 6:03, starting a 20-5 run in which the Raiders made 8-of-10 shots.
Colgate shot 60.4 percent, a season-high for a Loyola opponent, from the field and 66.7 percent from 3-point range.
Wednesday's game against Holy Cross 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.
Gary Lambrecht will call the play-by-play, and Jim Chivers '05 will provide color analysis.
Series History Versus Holy Cross
Loyola and Holy Cross will meet for the second time as Patriot League foes and the sixth time overall when the teams take the floor on Wednesday night.
In this season's first meeting, the Crusaders led by 14 in the second half, but the Greyhounds cut their deficit twice to two points, but they could not garner the lead in a 60-51 loss.
A traditional 3-point play by Dylon Cormier, who was playing in what would be his final full game, capped a 23-11 Greyhounds run and drew them within 49-47 with 4:05 left in regulation.
Cormier finished with 15 points, but he was just 4-of-11 from the free-throw line, a problem that plagued Loyola in the game. It was 10-of-19 overall from the charity stripe. Tyler Hubbard added 13 points, and Nick Gorski scored nine.
Dave Dudzinski had 20 of his 24 points, and 10 of his 12 rebounds, in the second half for Holy Cross.
Prior to playing on January 29 in Worcester, Mass., the programs last met in the consolation game of the Otis Spunkmeyer Classic in Oakland, Calif. Loyola defeated the Crusaders, 73-55, in that contest.
Holy Cross has won all three games played on its home court. The only time the Crusaders have played in Reitz Arena the Greyhounds dealt them a 87-73 defeat on December 6, 1984. It was the first-ever men's basketball game played in the venue.
Prior to the game against Holy Cross, Loyola will honor its three senior players and one manager. Here's a look at the careers of each:
A two-time All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference honoree, Dylon Cormier will go down as one of the top players in program history. Despite breaking his hand in a game three weeks ago, Cormier has scored 1,659 points (7th all-time at Loyola), grabbed 467 rebounds, made 459 free throws (2nd) and accumulated 185 steals (2nd). He was on pace to finish third all-time in points at Loyola.
Jordan Latham transferred to Loyola prior to the 2011-2012 season and made an immediate impact on the Greyhounds 2012 NCAA Tournament Team. His 91 career blocks are fifth all-time at Loyola, and he has averaged 13.0 points in the Greyhounds' last six games.
Chido Onyiuke was a walk-on to the program in 2010-2011 and was a member of the Greyhounds' first NCAA Tournament bid in 18 years during the 2011-2012 season. He has seen action in 34 games over the course of his career.
Zan Cheema joined the program as a manager before the 2012-2013 season.
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 26-of-27 games and is averaging 5.4 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.
R.J. Against The Raiders
In his two games against Colgate this season, Loyola point guard R.J. Williams has set his career-high in scoring twice. He finished with 15 on January 25 in the teams' first meeting, and he eclipsed that by one with a team-best 16 points on Saturday, February 22, in Hamilton, N.Y.
In the game at Colgate, Williams made 6-of-11 shots from the field, 4-of-7 in the second half.
The 16 points raised his season scoring average to 8.1 points, tied with Eric Laster for second-best on the team. It was also the second time this year, and in his career, that he has led Loyola in scoring.
Williams is seventh in the Patriot League in assists per game (4.9), and he leads the conference in steals per game (2.3).
Career Night For Latham
Jordan Latham recorded career-highs in several categories on February 15 against Boston University, logging his first collegiate double-double with bests of 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Latham made 10-of-16 field goals and 5-of-8 free throws (career-highs in both made and attempted for both) while also blocking three shots and tying his personal-best with two steals.
The senior forward from Baltimore scored 16 points in the first half, more than any other Loyola player has tallied in the opening 20 minutes this year. He played a career-high 33 minutes, as well in the game.
He followed that game by leading the team in scoring for the second game in a row, tying Jarred Jones with 13 points, on Wednesday night against Colgate. He had career-highs of seven free-throws made and 11 attempted in that contest. It was the first time in his career that he had led the team in scoring in back-to-back games.
His previous scoring high of 17 came in December 2012 at Florida Gulf Coast University, and he had a high of seven rebounds earlier this season at Cornell University.
Latham And The League
In Loyola's 16 Patriot League contests, Jordan Latham has significantly raised his scoring contributions. He finished Loyola's regular-season slate of 11 games with a 5.0 points per game, but he has bumped that up to 9.1 points in League contests.
In conference games, Latham is shooting 47.4 percent (33.8 non-conference), and he is also better at the free-throw line, making 66.7 percent as opposed to 47.4.
Latham has also rebounded better, 4.1 in the League, up from 3.4, and his blocked shots per game are 1.4, higher than his previous 1.1.
The improved play in the Patriot League has raised his cumulative totals to 7.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
In Patriot League play, his 1.5 blocked shots are fourth in the conference, and his 1.3 overall are 6th.
Shouldering More Scoring Load
Jordan Latham's scoring has also seen a rise since the injury to Loyola's leading point producer, Dylon Cormier. In the six games since Cormier's injury (in the second half of the February 1 game against Army), Latham is leading the team in scoring at 13.0 per game.
He also has done a much better job of getting to the free-throw line where he is 24-of-37 over that stretch. His 37 free throws in the six games are more than the 36 he attempted in Loyola's first 21 games of the season.
Eric Laster has set career-highs in scoring in two of the Greyhounds' last five games. He recorded 18 points on February 15 against Boston University, clipping his previous best of 17 on February 8 at Lehigh.
Laster's 18 against the Terriers came in a much more efficient manner than the 17 against the Mountain Hawks. He made 6-of-7 from the field, including both of his 3-point attempts, against Boston University after hitting 6-of-15 at Lehigh.
Through 27 games, 24 starts, this year, Laster is tied for second on the team with an 8.1 points per game average. He is shooting 41.6 percent from the field and 40.7 percent form 3-point range. The sophomore also has averaged 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. He played a career-high 37 minutes on February 19 against Bucknell to raise his minutes per game to 27.4.
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.
Turnovers Back In Line
After two games in which the Greyhounds had two of their top three turnover totals of the season - 17 at Lafayette and 22 versus Boston University - they had their lowest mark of the year with just five against Bucknell.
It was the sixth time this season Loyola finished a game with nine or fewer miscues. It is 4-2 in those games with both losses coming at the hands of the Bison.
Thirteen of the turnovers against Boston University came via Terriers' steals in a game Loyola was playing without starting point guard R.J. Williams due to an injury.
The game against Boston University was just the sixth time this season that the Greyhounds have committed more turnovers than their opponents. They are 2-4 in those games.
Overall, turnovers have not been a major issue for the Greyhounds this season. They are averaging 12.1 giveaways per game this year, fourth fewest in the Patriot League. Additionally, Loyola is tops in the conference in turnover margin, averaging 2.07 fewer per game than its opponents.
Jordan Latham and Jarred Jones have combined for 23 blocked shots in the last five games for the Greyhounds (Latham 12, Jones 11), helping Loyola take over the Patriot League lead in blocked shots per game (4.3).
Latham had three against both Boston University and Bucknell to retake the seasonal team lead from Jones. The duo is sixth and seventh, respectively, in blocked shots per game in the Patriot League, averaging 1.3 and 1.2 a contest.
Jones-ing For Points
Jarred Jones has scored in double figures each of the last three games - 10 each against Boston University and at Colgate and 13 versus Bucknell - after recording just seven points in a three-game stretch from February 5-12. Prior to that skid, he scored 17, his second highest total of the year, on February 1 versus Army.
He also has six rebounds in three of the last four games.
Jones On The Defensive End
Although he struggled offensively during a stretch, Jarred Jones has continued to be a solid defensive player for the Greyhounds. In those games, he has blocked seven shots and come up with 10 steals.
Prior to Saturday's game at Cornell, Jones had at least two steals in each of Loyola's last seven games, dating back to January 29 against Holy Cross. He also has blocked two or more shots in six of the last eight games with a career-high tying four on February 8 at Lehigh. He is second on the team with 34 blocks and seventh in the League with 1.3 per game.
Jones is also seventh in the Patriot League in steals per game. He averages 1.5 per game with a total of 40.
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 seventh in the Patriot League in assists per game (3.9). 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 60 assists in 15 games for an average of 4.0.
The junior from Baltimore has also increased his scoring average during Patriot League play. Overall he is averaging 8.1 points per game, 8.6 against conference opponents.
Gotta Get To The Line
The Greyhounds have seen their most success this season when getting to the free-throw line consistently. They are 6-3 when attempting 25 or more free throws (wins over Binghamton, Cornell, Fairfield, UMBC, Navy and Lafayette; losses to Stony Brook, Saint Joseph's and at Colgate). 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 (27.7-20.4).
Away From The Friendly Confines
Loyola lost its 12th straight road game on February 22 at Colgate after winning its first three this season away from Reitz Arena. At 3-12 on the road, the Greyhounds are shooting 38.4 percent as opposed to 44.9 percent while going 7-5 at home. Opponents are shooting 47.3 percent in their own facilities, 43.7 percent in Reitz Arena.
The Greyhounds turn the ball over at a rate of almost one per game more on the road (12.5-11.6), and they also force nearly two more turnovers at home (15.1-13.4).
With these factors, the Greyhounds are averaging nearly seven points less per game on the road, 62.5, to their 69.1 points per game at home.
The Greyhounds posted 10 steals against Bucknell on February 19, marking the sixth time in 16 Patriot League games that they have grabbed 10 or more. Through February 25, Loyola leads the League with 8.3 steals overall.
Through games of February 24, the Greyhounds are 18th nationally at 8.26 steals per game. Loyola has had 11 or more steals in eight games through 27 contests.
R.J. Williams leads the Patriot League,and is 16th nationally in steals per game (2.3), while Dylon Cormier is second (2.19) and 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 121 in his career, Williams is tied for ninth on the career chart. His 56 this season are tied for eighth on the school single-season chart.
Dylon Cormier had 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 21, Cormier was 14th 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 had 1,659 career points through 115 career games.
In Loyola's 17 losses this season, the Greyhounds are shooting 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 38.0 percent (363-of-956) in 17 losses. As a consequence, Loyola is averaging 14.9 less (74.8 versus 59.9) points per game.
As one would expect, opponents are shooting better (47.8-42.5) 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.
Loyola will close the regular-season in nearby Annapolis, Md., where it will take on the U.S. Naval Academy at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 1.