- INSIDE ATHLETICS
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Exhibition Versus Indiana (Pa.) Starts Men's Hoops Slate
Nov. 1, 2011
BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland's men's basketball team hits the Reitz Arena hardwood on Thursday night for its first official appearance of the 2011-2012 season, taking on outside competition for the first time in front of an audience when it hosts Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
The game, which is free of charge for fans, will start at 7:30 p.m., and it will be broadcast live on Hounds Unleashed for those unable to attend. Thursday's contest, like all non-televised home games, will be streamed free of charge on LoyolaGreyhounds.com and is available through the Internet and many smart phone devices.
IUP will provide the Greyhounds with an excellent test during the exhibition season. The Crimson Hawks are ranked 19th in the Division II Coaches Poll entering the season and were picked to win the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Western Division.
Last year, the Crimson Hawks went 26-6 overall and advanced to the championship game of the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region, falling just three points short of a spot in the Elite Eight after advancing to the NCAA Division II Championship Game in 2009. On Monday, IUP played its first exhibition game of the year, an 80-51 loss at Sweet 16 participant Florida State.
Head Coach Jimmy Patsos and his team were picked to finish third in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference poll that was released last week in a league race that projects to be one of the most exciting in recent years.
Seniors Shane Walker and J'hared Hall return to the floor after earning postseason awards from the MAAC last year. Walker was named to the All-MAAC Third Team a season ago after leading the Greyhounds in scoring with an 11.1 points per game average, and Hall was tabbed MAAC Sixth-Player of the Year, following a year in which he made 40.6-percent of 3-point attempts and scored 8.8 points per game.
Walker was recognized last week by the conference's coaches, along with junior Erik Etherly. The frontcourt mates were named to the Preseason All-MAAC Second Team.
In addition to his team-leading scoring last season, Walker finished fifth in the conference in free-throw shooting, making 81.9-percent of charity-stripe attempts, the best mark for a big man in the league. He also averaged 7.1 rebounds, and Walker enters the 2011-2012 season in third-place all-time at Loyola in career blocked shots with 93.
Etherly led the Greyhounds in scoring during MAAC play last year and was second overall on the squad with 10.8 points per game. The transfer who saw his first action for the Greyhounds in November also led the team with 7.6 rebounds per game and 41 steals. He enters this season with a 11-game double-figure scoring streak.
The frontcourt duo will be joined in the post this season by another face familiar to Greyhounds fans, as junior Anthony Winbush returns at full health after playing in just eight games last season and 18 the year before due to a knee injury. The 2008 MAAC All-Rookie Team honoree, who averaged 7.3 points per game prior to his injury in 2008-2009, received a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA and will have two more years in a Loyola uniform.
Fellow junior Julius Brooks will contend for more post minutes this season, as well. A physical presence in the paint, Brooks saw his minutes per game average jump to 14.1 during the Greyhounds' last four games a season ago.
Joining those four down low will be a new face for Patsos and his staff. Sophomore Jordan Latham, who played high school basketball at nearby City College High School, joins the program after playing his first season of collegiate ball at Xavier University. The former All-Metro First Team honoree by The Baltimore Sun was granted immediate eligibility as a transfer by the NCAA and will suit up for Loyola this year.
Chido Onyiuke will provide added depth to the Greyhounds' frontcourt this season, too.
Cormier, who along with Walker and Hall will serve as a team captain this season, started 27 games as a freshman in 2009-2010 and averaged 8.1 points per game while splitting time between the point and two-guard positions.
Drummond earned MAAC All-Rookie honors after bursting onto the scene in December. Drummond played in just 21 games but was fourth on the team with 9.8 points per contest, and he scored a team-high 21 in just his second collegiate game, a December date at the Verizon Center against host Georgetown.
Olson continued his development in his second year at Loyola as one of the top shooters in the conference. He scored 9.1 points per game and made a team-best 41.3-percent of his attempts from behind the arc. Olson scored in double figures 15 times last year and topped the 20-point mark twice.
Hall was a spark off Patsos' bench last year with his energy and shooting ability. He became the first Loyola player to ever win the MAAC Sixth-Player of the Year Award after seeing 20.6 minutes of action per game and averaging 8.8 points. He was tied for second on the Greyhounds with a 10.8 points per game mark in MAAC action, making his presence even more felt during the league slate.
Those four players will be joined in the backcourt by sophomore Pierson Williams who saw action in 15 games last year, junior Luke Wandrusch and a pair of first-year players, Tyler Hubbard and R.J. Williams.
The Greyhounds get their regular-season underway eight days later in a Friday, November 11, contest at Wake Forest. The 7 o'clock game at Lawrence-Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., will be broadcast nationally on ESPN3.