Loyola University Maryland opens its 102nd season of men's basketball on Friday, November 11, 2011, when it travels to Winston-Salem, N.C., to face Wake Forest in a 7 o'clock tip off.
The Greyhounds are 2-5 in season-openers under Head Coach Jimmy Patsos. They dropped a 75-72 decision last season to Drexel, but defeated Vermont, 79-66, in 2009.
Friday's game will be the first time Loyola has opened the season on the road since November 9, 2007, when it fell, 83-69, at Towson.
Loyola and Wake Forest will meet for the fourth time in series history, but it will be the first game between the schools since December 1949. Loyola holds a 2-1 advantage in the series after defeating the Demon Deacons, 66-51, in that last meeting.
Wake Forest won the first game between the teams, 54-53 in overtime, on February 5, 1941, and the Greyhounds returned the favor with a 40-26 victory on December 12, 1941.
In Front Of The Cameras
Friday's game will be one of at least eight that Loyola will play in front of television cameras this season. The game will be broadcast internationally on ESPN3.
Tom Werne will provide the play-by-play, and former Stanford University All-American Brevin Knight will handle color analysis. Tom Domer will produce the broadcast.
The Greyhounds opened the doors to Reitz Arena for the first time on Thursday, November 3, and entertained their fans with an 83-71 victory over Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The Crimson Hawks, who are ranked 19th in the preseason NCAA Division II coaches poll, provided a tough test for the Greyhounds who never trailed but did not lead by more than 12 points throughout the entire game.
Erik Etherly had a game-high 22 points to go with eight rebounds, and Shane Walker added 11 points and a game-best nine boards. Anthony Winbush returned from a medical redshirt year and knocked down three 3-pointers, scoring seven of the game's first 14 points, and finished with 12.
Loyola built a 10-point lead in the game's first three minutes, but the Crimson Hawks would keep it close. The 2009 NCAA Division II Runners-Up would not trail by more than 12, although Loyola allowed them to get closer than seven just once.
Latham joins the Greyhounds after spending his first collegiate season at Xavier where he saw action in 16 games for the Musketeers.
Hubbard led the Washington, D.C., metro area in 3-pointers made as a senior at Montrose Christian High School last year with 80, and he averaged 12.7 points per game. A team captain for Coach Stu Vetter last season, Hubbard helped the Mustangs finish No. 2 in the Powerade Fab 50 National Basketball Rankings after they won the ESPNRise National High School Invitational.
Williams is another close-to-home product for Loyola, joining Latham and Dylon Cormier as players on the roster who hail from Baltimore City. Williams led St. Frances Academy to the Championship Game of the MIAA and Baltimore Catholic League playoffs, earning Baltimore Catholic League Co-Player of the Year honors. Williams closed his high school career with 1,021 points and 814 assists and earned a spot on last year's Baltimore Sun All-Metro First Team.
Latham Granted NCAA Waiver For Immediate Eligibility
Sophomore transfer Jordan Latham was granted an NCAA waiver and will be immediately eligible to play for the Greyhounds in 2011-2012 rather than having to sit out the typical year-in-residency.
Latham returned to his home city when joining the Greyhounds. The 6-foot-8 forward played high school basketball a mere 2.5 miles from Loyola's campus at the storied Baltimore City College, a high school that has produced two sitting U.S. Congressmen (Elijah Cummings, D-Md.; Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md.) and a U.S. Senator (Ben Cardin D-Md.).
Coaches in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference picked Loyola to finish third in the league race this season as the Greyhounds garnered 76 points in the preseason poll. Iona received eight of 10 first-place votes, and 97 overall, to take top honors, while Fairfield nabbed the other two first-place nods and 92 points for second. Loyola was slotted just ahead of Rider (71), while the Broncs had considerable separation over fifth-place Saint Peter's (52), last year's MAAC champion.
Etherly, Walker Draw Praise
A pair of Loyola post players, senior Shane Walker and junior Erik Etherly, were recognized on the Preseason All-MAAC Second Team by the conference's coaches. Walker led Loyola with 11.1 points per game a year ago, while Etherly topped the side with 7.6 rebounds.
Loyola finished the 2010-2011 season with a 15-15 overall record and finished fifth in conference play with a 10-8 mark in the MAAC. The Greyhounds lost to eventual MAAC champion Saint Peter's in the MAAC Quarterfinals.
Loyola returns four of its five starts from the 2010-2011 squad, losing only Brian Rudolph to graduation. Rudolph finished his career at Loyola as the school's all-time leader in games played, and he also concluded his time on the Evergreen campus No. 2 all-time in assists.
Strong Off The Bench
J'hared Hall earned MAAC Sixth-Man of the Year honors in 2011, the fourth time in the last seven years that a Loyola player has won the award.
Hall missed three December games with an injury, but his play in January was a huge reason the Greyhounds went 7-2 during the first month of the new year. After seeing just six minutes of action against Marist, Hall went on to score in double figures in the next eight contests, averaging 15.6 points while shooting 55.8-percent (43-of-77) from the field, 56.3-percent (27-of-48) from 3-point range and 92.3-percent (12-of-13) form the free-throw line during that stretch of games.
Against MAAC competition, Hall appeared in 16 games, making one start, and shot 49.2-percent (58-of-118) from the field, 47.1-percent (33-of-70) from behind the arc, while averaging 10.8 points per contest.
Shane Walker garnered All-MAAC Third Team plaudits from league coaches a year ago after emerging during the season as one of the conference's top big men. Walker was not recognized by the coaches on any of the MAAC's three Preseason teams a year ago and was one of four players with that distinction to earn All-MAAC honors after the year.
As a junior, Walker was the Greyhounds' leading scorer, averaging 11.1 points per game, and he was second on the team with 7.1 rebounds.
During MAAC play, Walker upped his per game averages slightly, checking in at 11.2 points and 7.3 rebounds a contest. He scored in double figures in 10 of the Greyhounds' 16 conference games in which he played and had four games with 10 or more rebounds.
Justin Drums Up Attention
Loyola's Justin Drummond was slated to sit out the 2010-2011 season, but once he took off the red shirt, he became one of the Greyhounds' most explosive scorers.
Drummond eased his way into game shape with a scoreless four minutes of action in a win over Mount St. Mary's on December 11, but he jumped off the stat sheet in his next contest. Playing in front of a home crowd, the Bowie, Md., native scored 21 points in just 18 minutes of action at the Verizon Center against Georgetown. Drummond knocked down 7-of-14 shots in that game, 3-of-8 from behind the 3-point arc.
Just four days later, on December 22, he scored 17 points at Howard and earned the first of his four MAAC Rookie of the Week honors.
Drummond would go on to average 9.8 points per game in 21 contests, and he led the team in 3-point percentage, making 25-of-56 (.446).
Drummond's All-Rookie honor marked the fourth-straight year that a Loyola freshman earned the award, following in the footsteps of Brian Rudolph (Co-Rookie of the Year in 2008) and current teammates Anthony Winbush (2009) and Robert Olson (2010).
Jesuit Basketball Spotlight
As one of 28 Jesuit Catholic universities around the nation, Loyola is a proud participant in the Jesuit Basketball Spotlight again this season. The Greyhounds will play six games against fellow Jesuit schools, beginning with the January 7 contests against Canisius.
The Greyhounds will also face fellow MAAC Jesuits Fairfield (away, January 13; home, February 12) and Saint Peter's (home, January 22; away, February 5), as well as a return date to Buffalo to take on Canisius on January 29.
With Loyola's first two victories of the season, Head Coach Jimmy Patsos will become the third coach in school history to win 100 or more games. Patsos, who took over a team that finished 1-27 in 2002-2003, has won 98 games at the helm of the Greyhounds' program.
Patsos is third on the all-time coaching wins list at the school, trailing only Hall of Famers Lefty Reitz who had 349 wins form 1937-1944 and 1945-1961 and Nap Doherty who won 165 from 1961-1974.
Last season, in the Greyhounds' game at home against Manhattan, Patsos took to the sideline for the 200th time in his Loyola career, and with the Greyhounds' next game at Marist, he moved into third-place in games coached.
Loyola was one of the most balanced teams, scoring-wise, in the MAAC last season as seven players averaged 8.1 points or better per game in 2010-2011. Additionally nine players dropped 10 or more points in a game, and six of those tallied 20 or more.
In the Greyhounds' January 30 victory over Iona, six players scored in double-figures, and the team's top two scorers at the time did not even dress for the contest. It was the first time that a Loyola team had six players score in double figures since December 6, 1991, when the Greyhounds matched the feat in a 98-84 overtime home victory against Mount St. Mary's.
Loyola then had five reach double-digits at Towson in the Bracketbuster game, marking the fourth time in 2010-2011 that the team had five 10-point scorers in a single contest. Not surprisingly, the Greyhounds won all four of those games.
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.
Erik Etherly became a model of scoring a rebounding consistency through the latter half of the 2010-2011 season, finishing the year on an 11-game double-digit scoring streak.
Etherly, who was in uniform last season for Loyola after sitting out the 2009-2010 season satisfying NCAA year-in-residency rules following his transfer from Northeastern, was averaging 8.8 points per game on January 22, but his late season stretch raised his average to 10.8 to complete the year, the second-best mark on the team.
During the same run of 11 games, Etherly pulled down five or more rebounds eight times, and he had seven or more boards seven times.
Etherly recorded five double-doubles last season, including a 13-point, 10-rebound outing against Saint Peter's in the MAAC Quarterfinals.
Dylon Does A Little Of Everything
Dylon Cormier put together a steady performance throughout his freshman season, appearing in all but two games - missed due to a December illness - and started all 28 in which he played. The Cardinal Gibbons High School graduate averaged 8.1 points per game while playing as the Greyhounds' primary two guard.
Cormier, however, showed his combo-guard versatility by running the offense when all-time games played leader Brian Rudolph was off the hardwood. He also ranked third on the Greyhounds in offensive rebounds, pulling down 53 during his freshman campaign. Additionally, Cormier showed to be the Greyhounds' top perimeter defender as the season progressed.
He scored in double figures on 12 occasions as a freshman and finished the regular-season with games of 10, 15 and 11 points. His 15-point performance at Niagara on February 25 came with eight rebounds, as well.
Bush Is Back
The return of Anthony Winbush has been a welcome addition to Jimmy Patsos' lineup this fall. Winbush missed the last half of the 2009-2010 season after suffering a knee injury, and an injury to that same knee after just eight games in 2010-2011 sent him to the training room for the rest of the year. Winbush's junior year of eligibility was restored, however, thanks to an NCAA medical hardship waiver.
In the Greyhounds' exhibition win over Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Winbush scored seven of the game's first 14 points, knocking down two of his three from behind the arc, and he finished with 12 points.
At the time of his injury in 2009-2010, Winbush was averaging 7.3 points per game in 26.6 minutes of action.