Olson, Brooks Record Career-Highs In Win Over Mount
Robert Olson (22) and Julius Brooks (12) each recorded career-highs, and Erik Etherly returned from a five-game injury layoff to score 16, as the Loyola University Maryland men's basketball team defeated Mount St. Mary's University, 79-57.
The Greyhounds committed just six turnovers in the game, as season-low, and they also controlled a slight, 35-33, advantage on the boards.
Cormier blocked a career-high three shots in the win.
Turn On The Television
Saturday’s game will air live on MASN, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, as part of Loyola’s ongoing relationship with the channel. SNY will show the contest live, as well, in the New York market.
Jason Knapp, who will also be the play-by-play voice of the Patriot League on CBS Sports Network later this year, will call the action, and Craig Esherick will provide color analysis.
Series History Versus Mount St. Mary’s
Loyola and Mount St. Mary’s will meet for the 169th time when the teams take the floor on Saturday afternoon in Emmitsburg.
In addition to being the oldest series in state history – it predates Loyola-Maryland by two seasons – it is also the most-played. The 166 meetings exceed the 152 between Johns Hopkins and McDaniel (formerly Western Maryland), a series that started in 1930.
The rivalry dates to January 20, 1910, the second season of basketball at Loyola. The Greyhounds won the initial meeting between the teams, 35-24, but The Mount holds a 96-72 advantage all-time.
Loyola was won the last two meetings, including a 79-57 decision on December 15, 2012, in Baltimore. Robert Olson scored nine of his 22 points during a 22-2 run midway through the first half, and Julius Brooks added 12 points for the Greyhounds.
Cormier’s Start To The Season
Dylon Cormier has started the season scoring in bunches, averaging 25.1 points per game through seven. As of games of Thursday, December 5, Cormier is fourth in the nation in scoring, trailing only Niagara University’s Antoine Mason (30.0), Oregon State University’s Roberto Nelson (25.4) and Evansville University’s D.J. Balentine (25.3).
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 six 20+ point games in seven contests.
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.
Collins had eight games with 30 or more points that season, the most by a Loyola player during the Division I era.
In the game at West Virginia, Cormier moved into 12th place all-time at Loyola in points, passing Joel Hittelman (1951-54). Cormier has 1,389 points six games into his senior year; next up on the chart is Bob Connor (1,431 points, 1967-71). With 11 more points, he will be come the 12th player in school history to score 1,400 or more in a career.
20-Plus, Five In A Row
Prior to Cormier, Gerald Brown was the most recent Greyhound to score 20 or more in five or more games. He did so in six outings, from December 30-January 15, 2006-2007.
Brown finished that season, his junior campaign, averaging 22.7 points per game.
Turnover Trend Turnaround
Loyola committed more turnovers than West Virginia by a slim margin, 11-9, but it was the reversal of a trend from the last four games.
In the four games prior to that against the Mountaineers, the Greyhounds had committed an average of 5.5 fewer turnovers than their opponents. The only other game this season that Loyola had more turnovers than its opponent came in the season-opener at Binghamton University when Loyola had 17 to the Bearcats’ 15.
Loyola righted its trend on Wednesday night against Catholic, committing a season-low six miscues to the Cardinals’ eight.
Through seven games, Loyola is averaging just 10.4 turnovers per game, 3.2 fewer than its opponents’ 13.6.
Positive Post Play
Loyola’s starting post players – Franz Rassman and Jordan Latham – both scored in double figures in the same game for the first time this season when they combined for 24 points Wednesday night against Catholic.
Rassman made 7-of-9 shots from the field to set a career-high with 14 points, and Latham connected on 5-of-9 versus the Cardinals for 10 points.
Throw in Jarred Jones’ 13 points off the bench, also on 5-of-9 from the field, and Nick Gorski’s three, and the Loyola post players had 40 points.
The Greyhounds shot 53 percent from the field on Wednesday night, a season-high. Even better was their shooting performance in the second half when they made 20-of-30 shots (66.7 percent).
All eight Loyola players who attempted a shot in the second half made at least 50 percent of their attempts, led by Franz Rassman’s 5-of-5.
It was the first time since February 2, 2013, that five or more players reached double digits in the points column. That night, six Greyhounds scored 11 or more in a double-overtime win at Niagara University.
Only once this season had four Loyola players scored 10 or more. That occurred in November 10’s overtime victory at Cornell University.
Slowing Leading Scorers
Led by Dylon Cormier, who drew primary guarding responsibility, Loyola held Connecticut standout Shabazz Napier to just four points.
Napier, who was named to the All-American Athletic Conference Preseason First Team, was 2-of-7 from the floor, and 0-of-1 from 3-point range in 33 minutes of action.
The 2012 All-Big East First Team honoree and member of this year’s John Wooden Award watch list entered the Loyola game averaging 16.8 points per game this season. In his next game, December 2 against No. 15 Florida, Napier hit the game-winner as time expired to finish with 26 points.
Loyola also did a solid job defensively on West Virginia’s leading scorers, guard duo Eron Harris and Juwan Staten. Harris finished with 14 after entering with a 21.1 points per game average; Staten scored four, despite averaging 18.1 prior to the contest. Combined the duo shot 6-of-23 from the field.
Eric Laster scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half against Connecticut to lead all scorers at the break.
Laster made 1-of-2 attempts from behind the arc before halftime and also hit all three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt.
After averaging just 5.3 minutes in 27 games last season, he has seen his role expand dramatically this season, starting the first five games on the wing. He tied for the team lead in minutes played (34) at Cornell, and he scored in double figures (10) for the first time as a collegian.
Laster has averaged 9.1 points in Loyola’s first six contests, and he is shooting 42.6 percent overall from the field, 52.2 percent (12-of-23) from 3-point range. In 27 games last year, he averaged just 0.8 points (22 total) and shot 32.3 percent from the field.
On Wednesday night against Catholic, Laster scored just seven, but he posted career-highs with seven rebounds and five assists.
New Addition To The Family
Less than 24 hours after Loyola’s come-from-behind victory at UMBC, the Greyhounds had a new addition to their family. Head Coach G.G. Smith’s wife gave birth to the couple’s second child and first son, Ross Patrick Smith, on Thursday, November 21.
From Way Back
Loyola trailed UMBC by 17 points, 58-41, with 9:44 left in regulation on November 20, but the Greyhounds came all the way back to tie the score with 11 ticks left in regulation. They then went on to win, 89-83, in overtime.
An R.J. Williams layup with 8:37 left started a 10-0 run that would cut the deficit to seven on two Dylon Cormier free throws at 6:29, and Loyola would get within four on three occasions after that.
UMBC, however, pushed the lead back to double-digits, 73-63, on a Malik Garner free throw with 90 seconds remaining.
Eric Laster hit a pair of threes, wrapped around a 1-of-2 trip to the line for UMBC’s Joey Getz, and Loyola was down 74-69 with 1:14 left after Laster’s second triple. Quentin Jones hit a 20-foot jumper form the left corner with 58 seconds left, but Laster answered 11 ticks later to make it a four-point game.
Garner turned the ball over on a Cormier steal, and Later canned his fourth three in a span of 41 seconds to get the Greyhounds within a point, 76-75, with 42 seconds left. Loyola forced a missed layup by UMBC, and Cormier was fouled with 11 seconds left, and he hit 1-of-2 to tie the score. UMBC’s Rodney Elliott drew contact and a foul call with 3.1 seconds showing, but the freshman missed both foul shots, forcing overtime.
In the extra period, Loyola made 4-of-5 field goals and 5-of-8 free throws to pull away for the victory.
Laster From Deep
Eric Laster’s 3-point shooting made the Greyhounds’ comeback attempt a reality last week at UMBC. The sophomore guard hit four threes in a 41-second span with less than 90 seconds left in regulation.
His first three came on a pull-up in transition at the 1:23 mark, and the second was off an R.J. Williams assist at 1:14. Laster knocked down his third from the top left side with 47 ticks left on the clock, and he took a Dylon Cormier pass five seconds later – after Cormier stole the ball in the backcourt – to knock down his final shot that pulled Loyola within a point, 76-75.
Laster finished the game with five threes – he hit one in the first half – a career-high. Entering the game, Laster had hit just six 3-pointers, five this season and one limited action last year.
At The Line
Loyola has gone to the free-throw line an average of 25.1 times per game this season while converting 17.0 per game. Overall, the Greyhounds are shooting 67.6 percent from the charity stripe, making 119-of-176.
Last season, Loyola went to the line 716 times, an average of 22.4 per game (tied for 46th in the nation).
Cormier Near The Top
Dylon Cormier has shot 65 free throws through five games, making 41 (68.3 percent). He is averaging 9.3 free-throw attempts per game this season, 11th-most in the nation through December 5.
The Greyhounds are guaranteed at least 30 games this season (29 regular-season and at least one in the Patriot League Championships); at this pace, Cormier would take 279 free throws this year. The single-season record for free throws attempted at Loyola is 255, set in 1997-1998 by Mike Powell.
Cormier has attempted 536 free throws in his career thus far, seventh most in school history. His 377 made are also seventh on the Loyola career charts.
Last year, he was 172-of-232 (74.1 percent) from the line, taking an average of 6.8 free throws per game.
The Difference A Year Makes
When talking about his coaching philosophies, first-year head coach G.G. Smith has said that he would like the team to play a bit faster on the offensive end than in past years, and that was shown in the four games.
The Greyhounds’ 74.3 points per game in their first seven, more than seven points higher than last year’s average of 66.9.
Conversely, it has led Loyola to allowing more points, 77.9, considerably higher than last year’s 63.5 points per game.
Jordan Latham’s two blocked shots against Catholic brought his Loyola career total to 66, good for seventh place all-time at Loyola in the category With nine more swats, Latham will match Omari Israel for sixth place with 75.
Cormier Earns League Honors
Dylon Cormier had a career-high setting opening weekend in the Greyhounds’ victories over Binghamton University and Cornell University, and he was named the Anaconda Sports Patriot League Player of the Week on Monday for his efforts.
He earned the honor again on Monday, November 25, after his 34-point effort in the come-from-behind win at UMBC.
Cormier’s 30+ Point Games
Dylon Cormier was the first player in Loyola men’s basketball history to post two 30+ point games to start the season.
He was the first Loyola player to score 30 or more in back-to-back outings since Andre 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.
Jones Breaks Out
Jarred Jones had a career night in the season-opener against Binghamton, recording personal bests in points (22), rebounds (7), field goals made (8), field goal attempts (11) and blocked shots (4).
The sophomore carries Loyola’s offense in the first half when it was otherwise stagnant, scoring nine points in just over five minutes. During that span, Loyola scored just two other points, but a Jones layup at 11:12 closed the Binghamton lead to four.
Jones tied for game-high, and led Loyola, with six offensive rebounds. His boards led to 10 Greyhounds points.
While his offensive production was critical, his four blocked shots were just as important. Jones swatted two Binghamton layups with weak-side help in the final 2:10 of regulation. The first block came in transition, and the second was on a drive from the left side. Both shots would have given Binghamton the lead if not for the blocks.
He followed that game with a 13-point, 7-rebound effort against Cornell.
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.
Meet The Staff
Joining G.G. Smith on the Greyhounds’ bench this season will be assistant coaches Keith Booth, Josh Loeffler and Dan Ficke and director of operations Kevin Farrell.
Booth spent the last two seasons as an assistant women’s coach at Loyola after serving as an assistant to Gary Williams for seven years at the University of Maryland. An All-American and four-time All-ACC player at Maryland, Booth won an NBA Championship with the Chicago Bulls.
Loeffler brings considerable Patriot League experience with four seasons, and two League Championship Game appearances (2010 and 2011), at Lafayette College. He was also the head coach at NCAA Division III school Stevens Institute of Technology from guided the Ducks to a 46-13 record in two seasons and an NCAA Sweet 16 bid in 2007.
Ficke is a graduate and four-year lettermen of Loyola where he also earned his master’s degree. The last three seasons, Ficke has been a member of the staff at Wake Forest University where he was the Special Assistant to the Head Coach and Director of Scouting and Recruiting.
Farrell returns for his second season as the Greyhounds’ director of operations and sixth overall with the program. He was a four-year manager for the team as an undergraduate at Loyola.
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.
New Year, New Coach, New League
In addition to sporting a new coach, Loyola will also be a member of the Patriot League for the first time in 2013-2014. The school announced in August 2012 that it would make the move to the conference, and the move became official on July 1, 2013.
The Greyhounds will compete against American University, fellow Patriot League newcomer Boston University, Bucknell University, Colgate University, College of the Holy Cross, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy.
Preseason Patriot League Picks
Loyola senior guard Dylon Cormier was one of five players named to the Preseason All-Patriot League First Team, an honor shared by Bucknell’s Cameron Ayers, Holy Cross’ Dave Dudzinski, Boston University’s D.J. Irving (player of the year) and Lehigh’s Mackey McKnight.
As a team, the Greyhounds were slated to finish fifth, just six points out of third place. Boston University was the unanimous pick to win the league, followed by Lafayette, Army, Bucknell, Loyola, Lehigh, Holy Cross, Colgate, American and Navy.
Brito, Laster Spend Summer Overseas
Two Loyola players, – Denzel Brito and Eric Laster – gained valuable experience playing overseas during the summer of 2013.
Brito trained with the Cape Verdean National Team prior to their play in the FIBA African Championships. However, due to a FIBA exclusion, he was not able to participate in the event itself.
Laster played in five games on a tour that visited Belgium, England and The Netherlands. He was lauded for his wing play by writers who covered the events against professional teams in those countries.
Cormier On The Charts
Dylon Cormier enters 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 12th 1,389 points Next Bob Connor, 1,431 Field Goals Made 17th 461 field goals made Next B.J. Pendleton, 490 3-Pointers Made 16th 90 3-Pt. Made Next Teron Owens, 92 Free Throws Made 7th 377 free throws made Next Mike Krawcyzk, 394 Assists T-21st 180 assists Next Milt Williams, 190 Steals 6th 151 steals Next Mike Powell, 154
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 take 12 days off for fall semester final exams before taking the floor next on Thursday, December 19. The Greyhounds will host Stony Brook University at 7:30 p.m. in Reitz Arena.