FACTS & STATS: Site: Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000) -- Seattle, Washington. Television: Pac-12 Network Home Record: Loyola-Maryland 1-0, Washington 0-0. Away Record: Loyola-Maryland 0-0, Washington 0-0. Neutral Record: Loyola- Maryland 0-0, Washington 0-0. Conference Record: Loyola-Maryland 0-0, Washington 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAMES NOTES: As part of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic the Washington Huskies will host the Loyola-Maryland Greyhounds at Alaska Airlines Arena this evening.
The Greyhounds got off on the right foot in their season-opener on Friday easily taking down Binghamton 71-45. The win was an impressive start for a Loyola-Maryland squad that turned some heads last season running to a 24-9 overall record, while winning the MAAC Tournament to gain its first NCAA Tournament bid since 1994. The 24 wins were by far the most in school history with the Greyhounds having just one season of 20 wins (1947). Loyola-Maryland will face UMBC at home in its next time out before its second matchup of the Hall of Fame Classic against Norfolk State.
For the fourth straight season Washington won at least 24 games last season. However unlike the previous three seasons the Huskies were left out in the cold when it came to the NCAA Tournament. Instead Washington accepted an invite to the NIT where it fell in a 68-67 thriller to Minnesota. The squad had a pair of underclassmen (Tony Wroten and Terrence Ross) selected in the first round of the NBA Draft leaving head coach Lorenzo Romar with less to work with. Washington will also host Albany as part of the tournament, before games against Seton Hall and Ohio State or Rhode Island.
This is the first-ever meeting between these two teams on the hardwood.
Loyola-Maryland came out of the gates on fire against Binghamton, knocking down 60.0 percent of its shots in the first half to take a commanding 39-22 lead at the break. From there the Greyhounds were able to coast to victory. Loyola Maryland controlled the boards in the game with a 35-21 edge in rebounds.
Dylon Cormier did not seem to notice that it was the first game of the season as he dumped in 21 points to lead the way. Cormier (13.4 ppg) was an important piece of the puzzle last season, scoring in double figures in 24 games a year ago. That included seven games of at least 20 points. Erik Etherly scored 11 points and brought down six rebounds in a team-high 33 minutes of action in the win. Etherly (13.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg) was perhaps the most important player to the Greyhounds last season as he led the team in scoring and rebounding. Also back for Loyola-Mayland is Robert Olson (11.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg) who started in 30 games last season. Olson is a gunner from deep but did not look in rhythm against Binghamton, connecting on just 1-of-7 attempts from three-point range.
Losing Wroten and Ross was a huge blow for Washington as each contributed at least 16 points and five rebounds per game last season. The focus of the team now shifts to C.J. Wilcox (14.2 ppg), Abdul Gaddy (8.1 ppg, 5.2 apg) and Aziz N'Diaye (7.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg). Gaddy is a fine point guard but will need to be more of a scorer this season. Wilcox is the best offensive threat that remains on the roster and will be more than capable of being the go-to guy. N'Diaye helped Washington rank sixth in the nation in rebounding (40.1 pg) and if he can develop more of an offensive game will be even more valuable. Scott Suggs (7.4 ppg in 2011) was a redshirted last season but will be back this time around. His addition gives another consistent offensive threat to a team that ranked second in the Pac-12 and 30th in the country in scoring (75.6 ppg) last season.
After looking very good in its first game of the season Loyola-Maryland had to make a long trip across the country. Washington will be more rested and should be playing with a bit of a chip on its shoulder this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Washington 77, Loyola-Maryland 68
11/11 10:34:08 ET
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