Loyola plays its second game in three days after a 12-day layoff for final exams when the Greyhounds host fellow Jesuit school Saint Joseph’s University at 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 21.
The game is part of a doubleheader that features the Loyola women hosting UMBC in Reitz Arena at 12 noon.
Dylon Cormier logged his seventh 20+ point game of the season, and the 22nd of his career, on Thursday night against Stony Brook University.
Loyola has recorded 13 steals in each of its last two games, raising its Patriot League leading average to 8.8 per game.
The Greyhounds have posted 11 or more steals four times this season.
Last Time Out
Stony Brook University took a 17-point lead with 1:17 left in the first half, but Loyola rallied to tie the game twice in the second half on Thursday night in Reitz Arena.
The Greyhounds could not get over the hump, however, and never led in a 76-69 non-conference loss to the two-time defending America East Conference regular-season champs.
Dylon Cormier made 16-of-21 free throws and finished with a game-high 25 points for the Greyhounds.
After Stony Brook was up 10 with 14:58 left in regulation, Cormier scored eight during a 10-0 run that tied the game for the first time in the second half, 51-51.
Patriot League Network
Saturday’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 Saint Joseph’s
Loyola and Saint Joseph’s will meet for the 23rd time in series history, although the first time in the 21st century. The Hawks hold a 16-6 advantage in the all-time series.
The Greyhounds won a double overtime thriller, 80-78, the last time the teams met on January 4, 1996. Loyola shot 93.3 percent (14-of-15) from the free-throw line in the game.
The Greyhounds’ win snapped a 12-game winning streak in the series for the Hawks.
The teams first met during the 1915-1916 season, a contest the Hawks won, 40-20. Loyola, however, won the teams’ second meeting that year, 53-24, in the Greyhounds’ last game of the season.
There were 17 games between the programs from 1915-16 through 1937-38, but they did not meet again until the first game of the 1976-77 season.
Cormier To The Charity Stripe
Loyola went to the free-throw line a season-high 35 times on Thursday night, and Dylon Cormier took 21 of the attempts.
His 21 free throw attempts are second-most in school single-game history, one shy of tying the January 14, 2009, mark set by Jamal Barney against NJIT.
Cormier made 16 free throws, a career-best, good for a tie for fourth in single-game history. Barney holds that record, as well, with 18.
Through nine games, Cormier has gone to the free-throw line 91 times (tied for 18th in Division I through games of December 19). His average of 10.1 free throws per game ranks fourth nationally.
Loyola is guaranteed at least 30 games this season (29 regular-season, plus at least one Patriot League Tournament), and with that average, Cormier would 303 free throws in 2013-14. The school single-season record for free throws attempted is 255 set in 1997-98 by Mike Powell.
In his career, Cormier is 396-of-562 from the free-throw line. With five more attempts, he will take over fourth-place in school history, while he is 15 from fifth-place in free throws made.
Loyola has logged 13 steals in each of its last two games, raising its Patriot League leading average to 8.8 per game this season.
The Greyhounds have had 11 or more steals in four games – 12 at UMBC, 11 at Connecticut and 13 at Mount St. Mary’s and versus Stony Brook – through nine contests.
R.J. Williams leads the Patriot League in steals per game (2.3), while Dylon Cormier is fourth (2.0). Cormier had a season-high four thefts against the Seawolves.
Cormier now has 157 in his career at Loyola, fifth-most in school history and three out of fourth place. With 81 in his career, Williams is 26th on the career chart.
Turnovers Trending Lower
Through eight games this season, the Greyhounds have done a relatively good job of taking care of possessions, averaging 11.1 turnovers per game, second best amongst Patriot League teams.
Loyola is slightly ahead of last year’s average of 11.9 turnovers per game (12.0 in the first nine of the season).
Additionally, the Greyhounds lead the Patriot League in turnover margin, averaging 3.4 fewer than their opponents this season. Loyola has forced 14.6 turnovers per game this year, 8.8 per game by route of the steal, a stat that is also tops in the conference.
In all, the Greyhounds have committed 100 turnovers to their opponents 131.
In Loyola’s four losses this season – at Connecticut, West Virginia, Mount St. Mary’s and versus Stony Brook – the Greyhounds are shooting a full 10 percent worse from the floor than they are in their five victories.
Loyola has made 45.9 percent (134-of-292) shots in five wins versus 35.6 percent (84-of-236) in four losses. As a consequence, Loyola is averaging 21.4 points less (81.4 versus 60.0) in the losses.
As one would expect, opponents are shooting better (47.3-42.4) in the games they’ve won.
Getting To The Line
Hopefully, the ability Loyola showed against Stony Brook to get to the free-throw line (35 attempts on Thursday) is a sign of things to come. When Loyola opened the season with a 4-0 record, it was going tot he free-throw line 32.5 times (129 total).
Since then, however, Loyola has gone to the line an average of just 20.2 times (101 total) in its last five games. Take out the 35 attempts against Stony Brook, and the Greyhounds were averaging just 16.5 free throws attempted over a four-game stretch.
Cormier’s Start To The Season
Dylon Cormier has started the season scoring in bunches, averaging 23.8 points per game through nine. Through games of Thursday, December 19, Cormier is fourth in the nation in scoring, trailing only Niagara University’s Antoine Mason (28.6), Creighton University’s Doug McDermott (25.3) and Texas Southern’s Aaric Murray (24.5).
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 seven 20+ point games in nine 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 Saturday’s game against Saint Joseph’s with 1,427, Cormier is four 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.
Rassman Producing More
Franz Rassman has shown his best scoring form of the season in Loyola’s last three games, averaging 11.0 points in those three contests.
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 57.7 percent (15-of-26) in the last three contests.
Doing The Little Things
Eric Laster has done the stat-sheet filling things in the several games for the Greyhounds. The guard, who is in his first year as a starter, has pulled down at least four rebounds in each of the last six games.
On Thursday night versus Stony Brook, he blocked a career-best three shots, and earlier this month, he posted a career-high five assists in a win over Catholic.
Laster has 15 assists this year against just six turnovers, and his 4.2 rebounds per game are tied for third on the team.
Williams To The Basket
R.J. Williams has been a true point guard throughout his career at Loyola, but he has taken more opportunities to score this season. He has scored 10 or more three times (the same number he had during his first two years), including tallying 11 versus Stony Brook to match his career-high.
Against the Seawolves, Williams showed his ability to get to the basket for layups or to draw fouls. He is tied for Jarred Jones for team-high honors in free-throw percentage (83.9), as they both have made 26-of-31 this year.
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 42.9 percent (12-of-28) shots from behind the 3-point arc, while averaging 16.6 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 13-of-17.
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.
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 8.8 points in Loyola’s first nine contests, and he is shooting 44.8 percent (13-of-29) 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.
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.
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 1,427 points Next Bob Connor, 1,431 Field Goals Made 17th 470 field goals made Next B.J. Pendleton, 490 3-Pointers Made 16th 91 3-Pt. Made Next Teron Owens, 92 Free Throws Made 6th 396 free throws made Next Maurice Hicks, 412 Assists 21st 181 assists Next Milt Williams, 190 Steals 5th 157 steals Next Kevin Green, 159
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 regular-season non-conference game of the year on Monday, December 30, at the University of Miami.