The Greyhounds return to action after a 12-day layoff for final exams when they host Stony Brook University at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 19, in Reitz Arena.
Loyola and Stony Brook will be playing for the first time since 2001 and just the third time overall.
After starting out the season 4-0, Loyola is 1-3 in its last three games.
Dylon Cormier, the Greyhounds' leading scorer, has led Loyola in the points column in every game this year. He was held, however, to 13 points at Mount St. Mary's. The senior guard was limited to a season-low 23 minutes after drawing a pair of fouls in the first three minutes of the game.
Last Time Out
Loyola led by as many as eight, 23-15, after a fast-break layup by Damion Rashford with 4:52 left in the first half, but Mount St. Mary's scored the next points and never relinquished the lead in a 70-58 non-conference victory on Saturday, December 7. Julian Norfleet scored seven of his 16 points during that stretch, in which Loyola committed six turnovers.
The Greyhounds cut their deficit to one, 47-46, on a pair of Dylon Cormier free throws with 11:17 left, but The Mount scored the next five to keep the lead at five or more for the rest of the game. Cormier led the Greyhounds with 13 points, while Franz Rassman added 12 and seven rebounds.
Patriot League Network
Thursday's game against Catholic will air live on the Patriot League Network.
The game, and all of Loyola's non-televised home games will be streamed, free of charge, in high definition and can be accessed at LoyolaGreyhounds.com/pln.
Gary Lambrecht will call the play-by-play, and Jim Chivers '05 will provide color analysis.
Series History Versus Stony Brook
Loyola and Stony Brook will meet for the third time when the teams take the court on Thursday. The Seawolves have won both of the previous contests.
In the first meeting, Stony Brook held off Loyola, 51-50, on January 26, 2000, in Reitz Arena despite seven blocked shots by Loyola's all-time leader in swats, Brian Carroll.
The Seawolves then beat the Greyhounds, 72-54, on February 5, 2001, on Long Island.
Shooting In First/Last Four
As the Greyhounds opened the season with a 4-0 record, they were shooting 43.8 percent from the field, certainly not shooting the lights out, but better than the last four games.
In their four most recent games, in which they are 1-3, Loyola is making just 39.4 percent of its shots.
Just two of the team's top seven scorers have seen their shooting percentages go up in the last four games: Dylon Cormier (44.6 to 45.0) and Franz Rassman (38.5 to 50.0).
Loyola has seen a more precipitous drop in 3-point field-goal percentage in the last four games. After starting the season shooting 40.8 percent from behind the arc, the Greyhounds are hitting just 26.9 percent of long-distance attempts since.
Of those who attempted seven or more threes in either of the four-game sets, only Cormier's percentage has risen (34.8 to 35.3).
Rassman Better From Field
Franz Rassman has shown his best scoring form of the season in Loyola's last two games, combining for 26 points in the Greyhounds contests against Catholic and Mount St. Mary's.
After tallying a career-best 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting against the Cardinals, Rassman finished with 12 points - 10 in the first half - at Mount St. Mary's.
In Loyola's first six games of the season, Rassman was making just 31.8 percent of shots (7-of-22), but he has hit 61.9 percent (13-of-21) in the last two contests.
Outside Shooting Off The Bench
Tyler Hubbard's role as an outside shooter off the bench has continued this year, with good success. The sophomore is hitting 45.8 percent (11-of-24) shots from behind the 3-point arc, while averaging 16.3 minutes per game.
He is also getting to the free-throw line at a good clip with the ability to draw contract when driving into traffic. He has taken the fourth most free throws on the team this season, making 12-of-15.
After averaging 2.8 points in 9.7 minutes per game last season, Hubbard has raised his scoring to 6.1 this year. He has played 24 minutes, season highs, in each of the last two Greyhound games.
Rashford Numbers Increasing
Redshirt freshman Damion Rashford has seen increasing playing time recently, and he has started to put up the numbers to prove it. At Mount St. Mary's, Rashford played just 14 minutes, but he scored 14 points and had four rebounds, highs thus far for his young career.
After playing five minutes or less in Loyola's first five games of the season, Rashford has played 10 or more in each of the last three and is averaging 7.3 now for the season.
Cormier's Start To The Season
Dylon Cormier has started the season scoring in bunches, averaging 23.16points per game through eight. As of games of Tuesday, December 17, Cormier is fifth in the nation in scoring, trailing only Niagara University's Antoine Mason (28.6), Creighton University's Doug McDermott (25.3), Oregon State University's Roberto Nelson (24.7) and UCSB's Alan Williams (24.2).
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 eight 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.
1,400 For Cormier
In the second half at Mount St. Mary's, Dylon Cormier became the 12th player in school history to score 1,400 or more points in a career. Entering Thursday's game against Stony Brook with 1,402, Cormier is 29 points away from tying Bob Connor (1967-72) for 11th place in school history.
He is the eighth player at Loyola to reach 1,400 points at the Division I level.
Turnovers Trending Lower
Through eight games this season, the Greyhounds have done a relatively good job of taking care of possessions, averaging 10.9 turnovers per game, second best amongst Patriot League teams.
Loyola is ahead of last year's average of 11.9 turnovers per game (11.4 in the first eight of the season).
Additionally, the Greyhounds lead the Patriot League in turnover margin, averaging 3.3 fewer than their opponents this season. Loyola has forced 14.1 turnovers per game this year, 8.3 per game by route of the steal, a stat that is also tops in the conference.
In all, the Greyhounds have committed 87 turnovers to their opponents 113.
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.
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 24.4 times per game this season while converting 16.6 per game. Overall, the Greyhounds are shooting 68.2 percent from the charity stripe, making 133-of-195.
Last season, Loyola went to the line 716 times, an average of 22.4 per game (tied for 46th in the nation).
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 has shown in the eight games.
The Greyhounds' 72.2 points per game in their first eight, nearly six points higher than last year's average of 66.9.
Conversely, it has led Loyola to allowing more points, 76.9, 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 1,402 points Next Bob Connor, 1,431 Field Goals Made 17th 466 field goals made Next B.J. Pendleton, 490 3-Pointers Made 16th 90 3-Pt. Made Next Teron Owens, 92 Free Throws Made 7th 380 free throws made Next Mike Krawcyzk, 394 Assists T-21st 180 assists Next Milt Williams, 190 Steals 6th 153 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 play its final game before Christmas on Saturday, December 21, when it hosts fellow Jesuit school Saint Joseph's University.
The game is slated to tip off at 3 o'clock, following a 12 noon game between the Loyola women's team and crosstown foe UMBC.
After the holiday, Loyola will play its final regular-season non-conference game of the year on Monday, December 30, at the University of Miami.