Loyola will make its first appearance on the Patriot League road when it travels to West Point, N.Y., for a Sunday, January 5, game at 2 o’clock against the U.S. Military Academy.
The Greyhounds snapped a four-game skid with a victory in their first Patriot League game on Thursday night against the U.S. Naval Academy.
Loyola had a season-high 15 steals against the Midshipmen, tied for the 12th most in school history.
Dylon Cormier made 12-of-12 free throws against Navy, the fifth-best single-game performance from the charity stripe at Loyola.
Loyola has trailed with five minutes left in regulation in four of its six wins this season.
Last Time Out
Navy took a 47-34 lead on a Thurgood Wynn 3-pointer with 5:16 left in regulation Thursday night, but Loyola closed the second half on an 18-5 run to force overtime.
Dylon Cormier scored six of his game-high 20 in the extra period, and the Greyhounds won their Patriot League opener, 63-57, over the visiting Midshipmen.
Loyola scored five in a row after Wynn’s three, but two Earl McLaurin free throws put Navy’s lead back to double digits with 4:43 on the clock.
Jarred Jones was fouled on an inbound play and hit two tying free throws with 11 ticks left in regulation to force overtime.
Patriot League Network
Sunday’s game against Army will air live on the Patriot League Network.
The game, and all of Loyola’s remaining, non-televised home and road games will be streamed, free of charge, in high definition and can be accessed at www.patriotleague.tv.
Series History Versus Army
Loyola and Army will meet for the second time on the basketball hardwood when the teams take the floor Sunday afternoon.
The Greyhounds and Black Knights are conference foes for the second time as members of the Patriot League. Army was in its last year of membership in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in 1989-90, Loyola’s first season in the league that it left after 2012-13.
The teams were in separate divisions – Army in the North, Loyola the South – and played once during the year, a 62-55 Greyhounds win in Reitz Arena during January.
Start Of A New Era
Thursday’s game against Navy marked the start of a new era for Loyola basketball, the Greyhounds’ first game as a member of the Patriot League.
Loyola announced in August 2012 it would join the 10-school League, and it officially became a member on July 1, 2013.
The Greyhounds were members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) since 1989-1990.
Back In The Win Column
Loyola’s come-from-behind win over Navy Thursday night was its first victory since December 4 against Catholic University. It was the Greyhounds’ first Division I win since defeating UMBC on November 20.
The Greyhounds did several things statistically differently in the win that they had not in the four losses. Loyola shot 42.9 percent from the field (38.5 in four losses), held Navy to 37.5 percent (38.5), took 32 free throws (23.5), blocked seven shots (2.5) and allowed 57 points (76.2).
Die Hard Dogs
Loyola has trailed with five minutes to go in regulation in four of its six victories this season – Binghamton, Cornell, UMBC and Navy – only to come back to win.
In their Patriot League-opener, the Greyhounds were 10 points back of Navy, 47-37, when the clock hit 5:00 in the second half, but Loyola closed the half on an 15-5 run to force overtime.
At Binghamton, the Greyhounds were down five at the five-minute mark; Cornell, seven; and UMBC, six. In the game at UMBC, the Retrievers’ lead ballooned to 10 with 90 seconds left.
Loyola is 3-0 in overtime games this season and has won its last seven games that have extended past regulation.
Since the 2004-2005 season, Loyola is 12-1 in overtime games.
This season, the Greyhounds have outscored Cornell, UMBC and Navy by an average of 12.3 to 7.3 in the extra frames.
Loyola’s three overtime games this year match the number it played, and won, last year. Prior to 2012-13, the last time Loyola played three or more overtime games in a season was 1990-91.
Last Five Focus
In Loyola’s six victories this season, it has outscored its opponents 21.3-12.5 in the final five minutes of regulation.
The Greyhounds have shot 61.8 percent from the field and 56.3 percent from 3-point range, in the final five minutes of the wins. Their opponents have shot just 35.6 percent from the field and 20 percent from behind the arc.
In those 30 minutes, Loyola has committed just nine turnovers to its opponents’ 22. Fourteen of the opponent turnovers have been from Loyola steals.
Add in its overtime games, and Loyola has outscored opponents 27.7-16.2 in the final five minutes plus overtime.
Well Timed Points
Denzel Brito scored a season-high seven points on Thursday night in the win over Navy with all of them coming in the final 4:24 of regulation or overtime.
He was fouled driving and made two free throws at 4:24, and his runner with 44 seconds left pulled Loyola within two, 52-50.
Brito then hit a 3-pointer from the top of the perimeter with 39 seconds left in overtime, pushing the Greyhounds’ lead to five.
Brito’s three was just his fourth of the year and his first since hitting one on December 2 at West Virginia.
Jordan Latham tied his career-high with four blocks Thursday night against Navy, and Loyola matched its season-best with seven.
The four blocks moved Latham’s career total to 72. He is seventh in school history, four away from eclipsing Omari Israel’s 75 from 2006-08.
Second Half Revivals
Loyola has outscored its last five opponents, Stony Brook, Saint Joseph’s, Miami and Navy, 119-88, in the second half.
In those final 20 minutes, the Greyhounds have shot 47.2 percent from the field, but their defense has been the difference. The Seawolves, Hawks, Hurricanes and Midshipmen have been limited to just 31-of-82 (37.8 percent) from the floor during the second halves.
Loyola’s opponents have made just four 3-pointer (4-of-22, 18.2 percent), and they have committed 41 turnovers to Loyola’s 15 after the breaks.
Offensively, Dylon Cormier has averaged 13.3 points in the second halves of the last four games for Loyola, including a 23-point performance against the Hawks.
Against Stony Brook, the Greyhounds erased a 17-point first-half deficit to tie the score twice in the second half. Versus Saint Joseph’s, Loyola trailed, 60-24, at the half, but it made the contest a three-possession game and lost by 11.
In all 12 games this year, Loyola is outscoring opponents, 37.6-35.5, after halftime.
The Greyhounds’ second half rallies have been necessitated by slow starts that have dug first-half holes against Stony Brook, Saint Joseph’s, Miami and Navy.
In those games, Loyola has allowed its foes to shot 56.4 percent (62-of-110) from the field while shooting just 32.6 percent (29-of-89) itself. The opponents made a combined 19-of-37 (.514) shots from behind the arc, as well.
Loyola has also lost the turnover differentials in the first halves of those games, coughing up the ball 36 times while forcing just 25 turnovers.
On January 2 against Navy, Loyola made just four first-half field goals.
Cumulatively, in the Greyhounds’ 12 games, Loyola has been outscored, 38.2-28.8, in the first half this season.
Cormier’s Start To The Season
Dylon Cormier has started the season scoring in bunches, averaging 22.7 points per game through 12. Through games of Thursday, January 2, Cormier was eighth in the nation in scoring.
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 nine 20+ point games in 12 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.
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 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.
Into The Top 10
In the first half at Miami, Dylon Cormier moved into the top-10 all-time at Loyola in scoring, passing B.J. Pendleton (1991-95) for sole possession of 10th place.
Cormier now has 1,485 career points, and next up on the all-time scoring list is Maurice Hicks who scored 1,494 from 1981-95.
Cormier is the eighth player at Loyola to reach 1,400 points at the Division I level.
Cormier To The Charity Stripe
Loyola went to the free-throw line a season-high 35 times on December 19 against Stony Brook, and Dylon Cormier took 21 of the attempts.
His 21 free throw attempts were the 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.
He had another game that will be entered on the Loyola charts against Navy when he made 12-of-12 at the line. It was the fifth-best performance in school history (most makes without a miss).
Through 12 games, Cormier has gone to the free-throw line 117 times (10thin Division I through games of January 2). His average of 9.8 free throws per game is tied for 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 294 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 416-of-588 from the free-throw line. He is fourth in school history in free throws attempted and fifth in made.
After logging 13 steals in two recent games – at Mount St. Mary’s and versus Stony Brook – Loyola posted a season-high 15 on January 2 against Navy.
The 15 steals raised Loyola’s Patriot League-leading average to 9.0 per game. Through games of January 2, the Greyhounds are tied for 15th nationally in steals per game.
Loyola has had 11 or more steals in five games – 12 at UMBC, 11 at Connecticut, 13 at Mount St. Mary’s and versus Stony Brook and 15 versus Navy – through 12 contests.
R.J. Williams leads the Patriot League, and is t23rd nationally, in steals per game (2.4), while Dylon Cormier is fifth (1.9) and just outside the top-50. Jarred Jones had a career-high five steals against Navy, while Cormier and Williams each had four.
Cormier now has 163 in his career and moved into fourth-place at Loyola in the Navy game. With 89 in his career, Williams is 22nd on the career chart.
Through 12 games this season, the Greyhounds are averaging 3.3 fewer turnovers per game than their opponents, tops in the Patriot league and 32nd in the nation.
Loyola has committed 140 turnovers to its opponents’ 180. The differential is even greater in the second half of games, as opponents have 2:1 more turnovers (101-50).
In Loyola’s six losses this season – at Connecticut, West Virginia, Mount St. Mary’s and versus Stony Brook and Saint Joseph’s – the Greyhounds are shooting nearly nine percent worse from the floor than they are in their five victories.
Loyola has made 45.5 percent (152-of-334) shots in five wins versus 37.2 percent (129-of-347) in six losses. As a consequence, Loyola is averaging 17.5 points less (78.3 versus 60.8) in the losses.
As one would expect, opponents are shooting better (48.1-42.4) in the games they’ve won.
Jones Returns To Scoring Form
Jarred Jones had his best scoring night since of the month of December against Saint Joseph’s, finishing with 15 points on 5-of-8 from the field. He hit two 3-pointers, his first two of the season, and also had two steals in the game. His 15 points were the second most of his career.
Jones is the team’s second leading scorer this season, averaging 9.8 points per game while shooting a team-best 54.3 percent from the field. He has also gone to the free-throw line 39 times, making 30 attempts for a 76.9 percentage.
The sophomore 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).
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.
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 December 19 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 17 assists this year against just six turnovers, and he is averaging 3.9 rebounds per game.
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.
Laster has averaged 9.1 points in Loyola’s first 12 contests, and he is shooting 44.4 percent (20-of-45) from 3-point range. In 27 games last year, he averaged just 0.8 points (22 total) and shot 32.3 percent overall from the field.
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 second on the team in free-throw percentage (77.5), making 31-of-40 from the line this season.
From Way Back, Part 1
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.
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.
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.
Preseason Patriot League Picks
As a team, the Greyhounds were slated to finish fifth in the Patriot League Preseason poll, 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.
Dylon Cormier was one of five players on the Preseason All-Patriot League Team.
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 10th 1,485 points Next Maurice Hicks, 1,494 Field Goals Made 17th 488 field goals made Next B.J. Pendleton, 490 3-Pointers Made 13th 93 3-Pt. Made Next B.J. Davis, 104 Free Throws Made 5th 416 free throws made Next B.J. Pendleton, 426 Assists 21st 189 assists Next Milt Williams, 190 Steals 4th 163 steals Next Damien Jenifer, 169
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.
The Greyhounds play their next game on the road – Wednesday, January 8, at American University – before hosting games against Lehigh University and Lafayette College on Saturday, January 11, and Monday, January 13.