Cameron Ayers was 10-of-10 at the line and led Bucknell with 19 points.
Patriot League Network
Saturday’s game against Colgate will air live on the Patriot League Network.
The contest, 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.
Gary Lambrecht will call the play-by-play, and Jim Chivers ’05 will provide color analysis.
Series History Versus Colgate
Loyola and Colgate will meet for the first time as Patriot League foes and the third time overall when the teams take the floor on Saturday night.
The teams have not played in over 30 years and split the previous two meetings.
Colgate was a 56-54 winner the last time the teams squared off. They met in the Albright Invitational Consolation Game on December 30, 1983, in Reading, Pa.
Loyola won the pair’s first meeting on December 22, 1974, taking a 79-78 decision in the opening round of the Scranton Holiday Tournament.
Loyola’s coaches will be wearing Under Armour shoes during Saturday’s game as part of the national Suits And Sneakers Awareness Weekend. The initiative is run by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and American Cancer Society to promote awareness to the fight against cancer.
Start Of A New Era
Loyola’s January 2 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 had been members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) since 1989-1990.
Gotta Get To The Line
Loyola faced a 34-16 disadvantage in free throws attempted on Wednesday night at Bucknell, and the Bison held an even greater 27-8 lead in free throws made. The 19-point advantage from the line more than made up for Bucknell’s 10-point margin of victory.
The Greyhounds have seen their most success this season when getting to the free-throw line consistently. They are 6-2 when attempting 25 or more free throws (wins over Binghamton, Cornell, Fairfield, UMBC, Navy and Lafayette; losses to Stony Brook and Saint Joseph’s). In the Loyola’s two other wins, Catholic and Lehigh, it took 19 and 24 free throws, respectively.
Overall, Loyola is getting to the free-throw line almost nine fewer in losses than wins (28.9-20.1).
Away From The Friendly Confines
Loyola lost its eighth straight road game on Wednesday night at Bucknell after winning its first three this season away from Reitz Arena.
At 3-8 on the road, the Greyhounds are shooting 39.3 percent as opposed to 46.5 percent while going 4-2 at home. Opponents are shooting 47.3 percent in their own facilities, 43.3 percent in Reitz Arena.
Loyola does shoot slightly better from 3-point range on the road, making 32.1 percent of shots from behind the arc as compared to 28.2 at home.
The Greyhounds turn the ball over at a rate of almost one per game more on the road (12.2-11.4), and they also force an additional turnover at home (15.0-13.9).
With these factors, the Greyhounds are averaging nearly six points less per game on the road, 66.5, to their 72.0 points per game at home.
The Greyhounds won two in a row – January 11 against Lehigh and two days later versus Lafayette – after going 1-6 in their previous seven.
They produced two of their three best shooting performances of the season in the games, shooting an even 50 percent against the Mountain Hawks and a season-best 54.9 versus the Leopards.
Combined, Loyola made 54-of-103 (52.4 percent) of its shots in the wins after shooting 39.2 percent (150-of-383) in its previous seven.
Similarly, Loyola’s opponents shot seven-percent worse (42.3 in the last two versus 49.3).
Rebounding On The Boards
Loyola also outrebounded Lehigh and Lafayette by an average of 8.5 in the two victories. In the seven prior games, Loyola was being outrebounded by 7.1 a contest. The Greyhounds outrebounded a team just once (Navy by 2) during that stretch.
Loyola had its biggest positive rebounding margin of the season last Monday against Lafayette, grabbing 38 to the Leopards’ 23.
The Greyhounds followed that by outrebounding Boston University, 32-30, marking the third game in a row Loyola has outrebounded its opponent, the first time this year they have done that.
The loss to the Terriers, however, dropped Loyola’s record to 5-3 when grabbing more rebounds than its foes.
Jordan Latham and Dylon Cormier, the Greyhounds’ two senior starters, were at the front of the Greyhounds’ wins against Lehigh and Lafayette.
The pair shot 63.3 percent from the field (31-of-49) in the games, averaging a combined 38 points.
Cormier scored 25 in each of the games, while Latham put together the first back-to-back double-figure scoring games of his career, finishing with a season-high 14 against the Mountain Hawks and 12 versus Lafayette.
They were also been the Greyhounds’ top two rebounds in the wins. Latham had six boards in both games, while Cormier had 11 against Lafayette and eight versus Lehigh.
Williams had a career-high 10 assists on versus the Leopards, logging his first career double-double in the process with 12 points.
In those two games, Williams has a 3:1 assist:turnover ratio (15:5), and he is also averaging 10 points and five rebounds.
He matched his career-high by going to the free-throw line eight times against Lehigh, and he then quickly broke that with nine attempts versus Lafayette. His 17 free-throw attempts in the two games are also tops on the team.
Lower Volume, Higher Efficiency
Dylon Cormier has averaged 21.0 points per game over the Greyhounds’ last four, and he has done so with considerably better efficiency.
Over the four games, Cormier has made 61.1 percent (33-of-54) of his shots from the field, a 15 percent improvement over his 46 percent mark for the entire year.
Versus Lafayette, Cormier made 73.3 percent of his shot attempts (11-of-15). That came after a 10-fo-18 performance versus the Mountain Hawks.
In Loyola’s four previous games – Miami, Navy, Army and American – Cormier had made just 33.8 percent of his shots (21-of-62). That included a game in which he made 10 at Army, but with 25 attempts.
In the seven games prior to the current two-game winning streak, Cormier was just 4-of-26 (15.4 percent) from 3-point range. Against Lehigh and Lafayette, however, he has attempted just one from behind the arc.
Dylon Cormier and R.J. Williams both posted double-doubles against Lafayette, as Cormier went for 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Williams posted 12 points and a career-best 10 assists.
It was the first time since an 88-85 overtime win against Iona College on January 30, 2011, that two Loyola players completed the feat in the same game. Erik Etherly (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Justin Drummond (14 points, 10 rebounds) managed it on that day.
Williams’ 10 assists were the most by a Greyhounds’ player since Brian Rudolph dished out 10 on February 27, 2011, in the regular-season finale at Canisius College.
Seems Simple, But...
Loyola’s wins came in no small part to better shooting percentage, and a big key to that was converting on the shortest of shots. The Greyhounds made 72.7 percent (32-of-44) of layups, dunks and tip-ins against Lehigh and Lafayette after making just 59.6 percent (28-of-47) in their previous two games at Army and American. This led to Loyola scoring 74 points in the paint in the two victories.
Cormier To The Glass
Dylon Cormier led, or tied for the team lead, for the 10 time this season with seven rebounds against Bucknell. Six of the Greyhounds’ eight wins this season have come when Cormier leads the team on the boards.
This season, Cormier leads the Greyhounds with 6.2 rebounds per game, a total that ranks tops among Patriot League guards and fifth overall.
He is also the top offensive rebounder in the conference, averaging 3.3 per game, a mark that is 0.9 better than any other player in the League.
Cormier has 112 total rebounds this year, with 59 coming on the offensive end.
The Greyhounds posted 11 or more steals in each of their first three Patriot League games, and they had five versus Lehigh, six versus Lafayette and 10 at Boston University.
The 65 steals in its last seven games have raised Loyola’s Patriot League-leading average to 8.8 per game. Through games of January 23, the Greyhounds are ranked 18th nationally in steals per game.
Loyola has had 11 or more steals in seven games through 16 contests.
R.J. Williams leads the Patriot League,and is 14th nationally in steals per game (2.4), while Dylon Cormier is second (2.2) and tied for 32nd.
Williams posted a career-high six, tied for fifth-most in school single-game history, at Army.
Cormier now has 179 in his career, and against Bucknell, he passed Tracy Bergan for second all-time at Loyola in career thefts. With 104 in his career, Williams is tied for 16th on the career chart.
Cormier’s Start To The Season
Dylon Cormier has started the season scoring in bunches, averaging 22.0 points per game through 18. Through games of Thursday, January 24, Cormier was ninth 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 13 20+ point games in 18 contests, and he has recorded 25 or more eight times.
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.
Cormier was the first player in Loyola men’s basketball history to post two 30+ point games to start the season.
He was also 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.
In the first half of the game at Bucknell, Dylon Cormier hit the 1,600 career points mark, becoming the seventh player in school history to do so, the fifth in the program’s tenure at Division I.
At Boston University, Cormier moved into seventh-place all-time at Loyola in scoring, passing Mike Powell and his 1,580 points.
Cormier now has 1,609 career points through 112 career games. Next up on the career scoring list is Mike Krawczyk who scored 1,676 from 1968-72.
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 18 games, Cormier has gone to the free-throw line 166 times (fifth in Division I through games of January 23). His average of 9.2 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 276 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 446-of-637 from the free-throw line. He is third in school history in both free throws attempted and made.
Last Five Focus
In Loyola’s eight victories this season, it has outscored its opponents 19.0-12.0 in the final five minutes of the games.
The Greyhounds have shot 56.7 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from 3-point range, in the final five minutes of the wins. Their opponents have shot just 37.1 percent from the field and 20.8 percent from behind the arc.
In those 40 minutes, Loyola has committed just 13 turnovers to its opponents’ 25. Seventeen of the opponent turnovers have been from Loyola steals.
Jordan Latham tied his career-high with four blocks against Navy, and Loyola matched its season-best with seven.
Latham now has 78 career blocks, fifth-best in school history.
Die Hard Dogs
Loyola has trailed with five minutes to go in regulation in four of its eight 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.
Through 18 games this season, the Greyhounds are averaging 2.2 fewer turnovers per game than their opponents, tops in the Patriot League and 41st in the nation.
In Loyola’s 10 losses this season, the Greyhounds are shooting nearly eight percent worse from the floor than they are in their eight victories.
Loyola has made 46.1 percent (178-of-386) shots in six wins versus 37.9 percent (219-of-578) in eight losses. As a consequence, Loyola is averaging 15.8 points less (77.4 versus 61.6) points.
As one would expect, opponents are shooting better (50.1-41.7) in the games they’ve won.
After averaging just 5.3 minutes in 27 games last season, Eric Laster has seen his role expand dramatically this season, starting the first 15 games on the wing.
Laster has averaged 9.0 points in Loyola’s first 18 contests, and he is shooting 43.4 percent (29-of-68) 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.
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.
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 7th 1,609 points Next Mike Krawczyk, 1,676 Field Goals Made 12th 534 field goals made Next Maurice Hicks, 541 3-Pointers Made 13th 95 3-Pt. Made Next B.J. Davis, 104 Free Throws Made 3rd 446 free throws made Next Mike Powell, 448 Assists 20th 204 assists Next Dave Wojick, 219 Steals 2nd 179 steals Next Jason Rowe, 272
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.
Nod To Maryland Prep Basketball
The State of Maryland is home to the most college basketball recruits, according to Mode Analytics. Loyola’s home produces 58 players per 1,000 college-age males, six more than second place Louisiana.
Loyola returns to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the second time in two weeks to face College of the Holy Cross on Wednesday, January 29, at 7 p.m.