Loyola University Maryland returns to the court after a 13-day break, its longest of the season, to play its final regular-season non-conference home game of the year on Friday, December 28, 2012.
The Greyhounds will host Bucknell University, a future Patriot League opponent in Reitz Arena with a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
Follow The Action
The game, along with all of the Greyhounds' non-televised home games, will be broadcast live and free of charge on `Hounds Unleashed, the broadband arm of LoyolaGreyhounds.com. Video is available on computers and most mobile devices platforms.
Fans can also listen to the action on Baltimore's ESPN Radio 1300-AM where Gary Lambrecht will call the play-by-play, and Jim Chivers will handle analysis duties. The audio can also be heard on LoyolaGreyhounds.com.
Thanks to alum Mark Rhode & family for hosting the team for a Christmas dinner on Thursday night!
Mid-Major Top 25 Match-Up
Loyola and Bucknell both enter the game ranked in CollegeInsider.com's Mid-Major Top 25. The Bison check in at No. 6 in the poll as the No. 2 team in the Patriot League behind Lehigh, while the Greyhounds are ranked for the fourth week in a row, checking in at No. 20, tops amongst Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference teams.
Loyola and Bucknell will be meeting for the eighth time when they take the court on Friday night in the final game of a four-year series.
Bucknell won the first four meetings between the teams during the month of January in 1987, 1988 and 1993 before the current series of games began.
Each team has won on the other's home court over the past three seasons with Loyola winning twice in Lewisburg, 55-49 in 2009, and 72-67 in 2011. The Bison prevailed, 70-59, in Reitz Arena in 2010. This will be the fourth year in a row the match-up has been played on December 28.
Last year, the Greyhounds snapped Bucknell's then 18-game game home court winning streak as Erik Etherly led four Loyola players in double-figures with 18 in a 72-67 victory. At the time, Bucknell's streak was the 11th-longest in NCAA Division I and had spanned 394 days.
Bucknell led 64-61 with 4:10 to play, but the Greyhounds scored 11 of the final 14 points, holding the Bison scoreless over the final 2:20 of the contest.
Neither team led by more than five points in the game, and Loyola trailed by no more than three.
Last Time Out
Robert Olson scored nine of his career-high 22 points during a 22-2 Loyola run midway through the first half that broke open a 35-11 advantage with 4:25 to go before halftime, and the Greyhounds dropped Mount St. Mary's, 79-57, in the 168th meeting between the teams.
A Raven Barber layup was the only basket Mount St. Mary's scored during the run in nine attempts, as Loyola held the Mountaineers to just 24.1-percent shooting in the first half.
The Mount got back within 14 with 10:05 to play, but Dylon Cormier and Julius Brooks both converted on layups and free throws on the next two possessions, and Loyola was back up by 20.
Robert Olson was the catalyst for the Greyhounds' offense against Mount St. Mary's, and he performed as such with an economy of shots. The senior guard finished with 22 points, making a career-best nine field goals in just 14 attempts. Three of his baskets were from behind the 3-point arc.
Olson had previously scored 21 twice, the last time coming in a January 2012 loss at Iona College. He first hit on 21 in February 2011 at Marist College.
His 22-point performance came after he scored just eight, making only 2-of-8 from the field on December 8 against Saint Peter's.
Olson After Fewer Than 10 Points
Robert Olson has scored in double digits in nine of 12 games this season, and he has not scored in single digits twice in a row.
He had just eight points on November 18 against the Albany, but he scored a team-best 20 in Loyola's next game, November 23, at Rhode Island, including the game-tying three with less than four seconds left to force overtime in a win.
He then had seven at Coppin State on November 28 but came back to score 10 at Florida Gulf Coast.
Brooks With A Career-High, Too
Julius Brooks scored 10 points in the second half to lead the Greyhounds after the break, a total that would have equaled his career-best. He also had a bucket in the first half, and with his career-high five field goals, the senior post player finished with a career-best 12.
It marked the second time in his career that Brooks has scored 10 or more and the first since he did it against Niagara in his freshman season of 2009-2010.
Brooks has averaged 8.3 points in the Greyhounds' last three games after scoring six against Niagara on December 5 and seven versus Saint Peter's on December 8.
Etherly Returns To Action
Erik Etherly made his first appearance for Loyola since November 23 after recuperating from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for five games, a span in which Loyola won three.
The Preseason MAAC Player of the Year came off the bench against Mount St. Mary's, entering the game in the second minute of play, and he finished with 16 points and four rebounds in 24 minutes of action.
He made 6-of-11 shots, plus 4-of-6 from the line, and also dished out a pair of assists.
The Greyhounds averaged 7.5 points per game fewer (68.3-60.8) in the five games without Etherly, but they also allowed four fewer points (57.2-61.2) in the same span.
Loyola averaged more rebounds (39.8-35.2) during Etherly's absence, but the team's field-goal percentage has slipped form .440 to .380 in the respective stretches.
During Etherly's absence, Anthony Winbush raised his scoring average from 6.7 points to 9.2 points, and the graduate student led the team in rebounds (7.2 per game in those five).
On The Defensive
Loyola held Mount St. Mary's to just 24.1-percent (7-of-29) from the field and 18 total points in the first half, both season-lows for a Greyhounds' opponent.
The Greyhounds also limited The Mount to 23.5-percent (8-of-34) from 3-point range after the Mountaineers entered the game leading NCAA Division I in percentage of points scored from behind the arc with more than 43-perecnt.
Through 12 games, Loyola is tops in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 59.2 points per game. The Greyhounds have held more than half their opponents (7-of-12) this year to fewer than 60 points.
Loyola is also tops in the league in field-goal percentage defense, limiting the opposition to 38.8-percent from the field.
The Greyhounds are also tops in the MAAC in blocked shots (5.4 per game)., Jordan Latham is second individually with 1.6 blocked shots per game.
Sharing The Ball
The Greyhounds also logged a season-high 18 assists against Mount St. Mary's with six players tallying two or more. Jarred Jones led the way with five, while Dylon Cormier and Robert Olson each had three.
Loyola is now 6-0 this season when it has 12 or more assists.
When Olson Scored 20+
Loyola improved to 5-1 in games over the last three-plus years when Robert Olson scores 20 or more points. Just once has the guard reached the 20-point plateau in a loss, a January 2012 setback at Iona.
Winbush With The Windex
Anthony Winbush led the Greyhounds in rebounding, pulling down a game-high 11 boards, against Mount St. Mary's, marking the fifth time in 12 games this year (just nine that he has played in) that he has paced the team in that category.
Loyola is 8-4 since 2009-2010 when he has led the team in rebounding.
This season, he is second on the team - behind Erik Etherly's 7.4 - in rebounds per game with 7.2.
Jones' Productive Minutes
After playing a season-low two minutes on December 8 against Saint Peter's, Jarred Jones was in the game for 13 against Mount St. Mary's. The freshman made the most of his playing time, dishing out a career-best five assists while pulling down five rebounds, blocking a shot, logging a steal and scoring three points.
This year, while averaging 16.4 minutes per game, Jones is averaging 3.4 rebounds per contest.
MAAC After Two
Just two games into the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schedule, only one team remains unbeaten in league play (Canisius College), and only one team is winless (Siena College). The remaining eight teams are all 1-1.
Best Start Through Twelve
Loyola's victory on December 8 over Saint Peter's raised its record to 8-3 through 11 games this season, matching the best start in school history through that number of games, and the Greyhounds' win over Mount St. Mary's did the same through 12.
Last year's team, and Jimmy Patsos' second squad (2005-2005) also went 9-3 through 12 games.
Making Good On Starting Opportunity
Franz Rassman made the most of his first collegiate start on December 8 at the IZOD Center against Saint Peter's, recording career-highs of 25 minutes and 13 points, going 6-of-8 from the floor.
Rassman made all three of his second-half shots, including his first 3-pointer as a Greyhound, and tallied seven points after the break in 14 minutes of action.
Over the last five games, Rassman has averaged 6.6 points and 15.0 minutes per game. He is shooting a team-best .690 (14-of-23) during that stretch.
Against Niagara on December 5, Rassman played a big role in the Greyhounds' near-comeback late in the game. He finished with eight points and four rebounds, three offensive. He also blocked a shot and had a steal.
Winbush Goes The Distance (Almost)
Anthony Winbush played all but 21 seconds of the win over Saint Peter's, logging a career-high in minutes played (he was credited with 40).
He finished one off his career-high in points, as he led the Greyhounds with 16 on 5-of-8 from the floor. He made both of his 3-point attempts and 4-of-6 from the free-throw line.
The graduate student also tied Julius Brooks for game-high honors with eight rebounds, seven coming on the defensive glass.
Since missing the first three games of the season, Winbush is fourth on the team in scoring (8.3 ppg) and second in rebounding (6.8). He also leads the team in assists per game (2.63) this season and is second in steals per game (1.25).
Big Performance By Brooks
Julius Brooks was another Loyola player to log a career-high in minutes against Saint Peter's. The senior forward came off the bench to play 30 minutes, and he tied Anthony Winbush for game-high honors with eight rebounds.
Brooks also made 3-of-5 shots from the field and finished with seven points, and he matched his career-best with four blocked shots. During the game, he moved into 13th all-time at Loyola in blocked shots with 46.
Cormier To The Charity Stripe
On a day when his shots were not falling in volume (3-of-10), Dylon Cormier found another way to score against Saint Peter's, getting to the free-throw line 13 times and making nine.
He finished with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists against the Peacocks.
Cormier leads the team with 83 free throws attempted and 63 made this season. He has gone to the line 10 or more times on three occasions (at Washington, at Coppin State and versus Saint Peter's), and he has attempted seven or more from the line in four more games.
With his nine makes against the Peacocks, Cormier moved into the top-25 all-time at Loyola in free-throws made. In less than 2.5 years with the Greyhounds, he has made 224, good for 25th place, one behind teammate Erik Etherly for 24th. Etherly's 331 free-throw attempts are 22nd all-time at Loyola, and Cormier's 326 are tied for 24th with Mark Rhode (1972-1976).
Finding A Way To Contribute
While he only scored eight points, off his season average of more than 11, Robert Olson contributed a game-high five assists versus Saint Peter's, one of his career-best of six.
Olson is second on the team this season with 23 assists, and he now has 182 assists in his career at Loyola, good for 20th all-time at the school.
Latham Breaks Out
Jordan Latham took little time on December 1 to set a career-high in scoring, tallying his 10th point of the game with 9:30 to play in the first half against Florida Gulf Coast. He finished with a game-high 17 points to easily outdistance his previous high of nine set just a week prior at Rhode Island.
Latham made 7-of-10 shots from the field and 3-of-4 from the line while making his first start since November 11 at the University of Washington.
His strong play of late started when he logged a career-high 27 minutes off the bench before fouling out midway through overtime at Rhode Island on November 23.
Latham scored a then-career-best nine points and also had five rebounds, an assist and a block, and he was at his best late in the tight game.
He scored the first three Loyola points of overtime, on a layup and a free throw, after the Rams had jumped out to a 53-50 lead in the extra frame.
Last Wednesday at Coppin State, Latham scored just four points, but he matched his career-high with 27 minutes and had a particularly strong defensive effort. He grabbed six boards and swatted three shots against the Eagles.
Dylon Cormier had a career-high scoring night at Coppin State, tallying 27 points on 7-of-14 shooting. He made 11-of-12 from the line, 5-of-6 in the final five minutes of the game.
Cormier eclipsed his previous career-best of 26 set last season in a win at George Washington.
The junior guard also was one off his career-high in rebounds, grabbing eight boards for the second-straight game, and he dished out four assists in a career-high 39 minutes of action.
After scoring 19 on Monday night against Towson, as well, Cormier is averaging 23 points in the Greyhounds' last two games.
Charm City Pride
Baltimore born and raised Dylon Cormier plays at or near his best when the Greyhounds face another team from the Baltimore area. The junior guard, who was in the last graduating class at the now closed Cardinal Gibbons High School, has scored 145 points in eight career games against teams from Baltimore and the surrounding suburbs.
Including his career-high 27 on Wednesday, Cormier has averaged 18.1 points against Coppin State (two games), Towson (two), UMBC (three) and Morgan State (one). He has four games with 20 or more points among the eight contests.
In the last year, Cormier has averaged 20.6 in five games against the teams.
Anthony Winbush notched the first double-double of his career on November 28 at Coppin State, scoring 12 points and grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds.
His 12 rebounds represented the 12th time in his tenure at Loyola that he has posted 10 or more rebounds, and it was the fourth time he has scored 10 or more points.
He also set a career-high in rebounds, eclipsing the 11 he posted in his seventh career game on November 29, 2008, at Vermont. Winbush also set a career-high in minutes played (37) and matched his previous best in free throws made (five) and attempted (six).
Doubling Up, Part Two
Erik Etherly had his first double-double of the 2012-2013 season, the 14th of his career at Loyola. The Preseason MAAC Player of the Year scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds at Rhode Island.
Late Game Heroics
Loyola's games against Albany and Rhode Island, both wins, came down to the last four seconds of regulation (and then some).
On November 18, Albany tied the game with 3.1 ticks on the clock, Loyola Head Coach Jimmy Patsos set up an inbound play in a timeout. Graduate student Anthony Winbush threw a baseball pass 80 feet to Dylon Cormier who was inside the opposite foul line. Cormier caught the pass, laid it in with his right hand and was fouled in the process by Albany's D.J. Evans with 1.5 seconds left.
Cormier made the free throw to provide the final margin, and Albany's inbound pass went off the hands of Evans and out-of-bounds to secure the win.
Robert Olson then sank a 3-pointer with 3.7 on the clock at Rhode Island to force overtime where the Greyhounds would win by four.
MAAC Preseason Poll & Player of the Year
The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference unveiled its preseason coaches' poll and the league's Preseason Player of the Year on Friday night in a live Preseason Awards Show on ESPN3. Loyola was named the team to beat in 2012-2013, and Erik Etherly was tabbed the Preseason Player of the Year by the coaches. (Complete poll and All-MAAC teams at left).
This is the first time Loyola has been selected No. 1 in the MAAC preseason poll in 24 years in the league, nor had a Greyhound player been named Preseason Player of the Year prior to Etherly.
Three Loyola players were named to the various Preseason All-MAAC teams as voted on by the coaches of the league.
Senior guard Robert Olson was named one of 30 candidates for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award last week. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Olson was the Greyhounds' third-leading scorer last season with 11.1 points per game and enters this season Loyola ranked fourth at Loyola in 3-point percentage (138-of-336, .4107) sixth in career 3-pointers made (138) and eighth in 3-pointers attempted (336). Last season, Olson was one of four Loyola players to earn All-MAAC honors, picking up Third Team mention and later All-Tournament honors.
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 2002-2005.
Loyola completed the turnaround from finishing the 2003-2004 season with the lowest RPI in NCAA Division I basketball. The Greyhounds finished that season with a 1-27 record the season before Jimmy Patsos took over as head coach.
Since then, Loyola has gone 122-123 and culminated the turnaround by winning a school Division I record 24 games in 2011-2012.
Patsos is one of only three coaches at the Division I level in the last 20 years to take over a program that had won zero or one game the year prior to then win 100 games at the school. He joins Steve Cleveland (BYU) and Pat Douglass (UC-Irvine) as the others.
Patsos Named Coach & Man Of The Year
Jimmy Patsos became the first Loyola coach to earn The Rock/Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors by a vote of his peers in the league.
Patsos guided the Greyhounds to a school Division I high 24 wins and a program MAAC record 13 victories. He earned his 100th career coaching victory in November 2012 and led the Greyhounds to the No. 2 seed in the MAAC Championships.
Later in March, Patsos was named the Skip Prosser Man of the Year award for his work on and off the court, an honor presented by CollegeInsider.com.
Head Coach Jimmy Patsos became the third coach in Loyola history to win 100 games when the Greyhounds defeated UMBC, 73-63, on the road last season. Patsos, who is now in his ninth season, took over a team that finished 1-27 during the 2002-2003 season. He won his 100th game in his 215th career game.
Last season, Patsos moved into third-place all time at Loyola in victories, trailing only Lefty Reitz (349 wins, 1937-44, 1945-61) and Nap Doherty (165, 1961-74).
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. Four players - junior guard Dylon Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons), junior forward Jordan Latham (City) and sophomore guard R.J. Williams and freshman forward Josh Forney (St. Frances) are products of schools within the city limits.
The Greyhounds play their final game of 2012 on Sunday, December 30, when Tennessee for a 7:00 p.m. (Central)/8:00 p.m. (Eastern) game at the University of Memphis. The game will be televised in Baltimore on Comcast SportsNet and throughout the nation on various CSN channels.