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Halloween Night Exhibition Game Lifts Lid On Men's Basketball Season
Oct. 29, 2013
The 2013-2014 men's basketball season will bring a host of new things to Loyola University Maryland, as G.G. Smith takes the reigns of the program after spending the last six seasons as an assistant coach on the Greyhounds' bench. Smith will guide Loyola during its transition to a new conference, as Loyola became an official member of the Patriot League on July 1, 2013.
Loyola will play its first event in front of fans on Thursday, October 31, when it hosts Shippensburg University, an NCAA Division II school and member of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), at 7:30 p.m. in Reitz Arena. Admission to the game is free, and it will also be streamed live on the Patriot League Network.
Smith's team returns a core of veterans, led by senior guard Dylon Cormier. The Baltimore native was one of the top players in the Mid-Atlantic region last year and was an All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference First Team performer as he led the Greyhounds in scoring with 558 points, an average of 16.4 per game. An excellent on-ball defender, Cormier was also second in the MAAC in total steals with 62 a year ago.
Cormier is joined in the backcourt by another Baltimore product, junior point guard R.J. Williams. A dynamic ball-handler and passer, Williams averaged 4.0 assists per game last season, and his defensive spark was evident from his 1.6 steals per contest.
Senior forward Jordan Latham, another Baltimore native, will be looked upon to step in for more minutes in the post after starting 16-of-32 games last year and scoring 4.1 points per outing. An excellent on-ball shot-blocker, Latham led the team with 37 swats as a junior. He will be joined in the paint by sophomore forward Franz Rassman, one of three sophomores who look to contribute further after showing signs of good things to come as freshmen.
Rassman played in 34 games, starting six, showing good shooting range with the ability to get to the offensive and defensive glass. Sophomore wings Jarred Jones and Eric Laster also helped the Greyhounds during their 23-12 campaign in 2012-2013 with Jones earning nine starts while demonstrating good all-around acumen on the court. Laster came on later in the season and was impressive on an overseas trip this summer, playing with a group of college players in Europe.
Sophomore guard Tyler Hubbard has the shooting range to extend defenses, as he showed by scoring 18 in just his third collegiate game. Junior guard Denzel Brito, a transfer from Loyola Chicago, and redshirt freshmen Damion Rashford will vie for playing time in the backcourt, while true freshmen guard Jevon Patton and forward Nick Gorski will look to add depth in their first seasons at Loyola. Teammates Josh Forney, a post player, and guards Sean Tuohy, Jr., and Stefano Mancini will also make their Greyhounds debuts this season, while senior post Chido Onyiuke will continue to add energy off the bench.
Shippensburg is led by a first-year head coach, as well. Chris Fite became the Raiders' 10th all-time head coach in June after spending the last seven seasons as an assistant at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where he helped the Crimson Hawks to a 149-65 record and five NCAA tournament appearances.
The Raiders will be led in 2013-2014 by a pair of returners from last year's club, sophomore guard Joe Lococo and senior post Dylan Edgar. Lococo started 17 of the 23 games in which he played last year and was second on the team in scoring (12.3 ppg) and second in assists (49). Edgar earned All-PSAC Second Team honors while scoring 13.5 points and averaging a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game.
Following the Halloween-night exhibition game, Loyola will open the regular-season with a pair of road games, traveling to Vestal, N.Y., to face Binghamton University on Friday, November 8, before taking on Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., two days later.