GAME NOTES: Two of the top teams in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference get together at Reitz Arena in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon, as the Greyhounds of Loyola-Maryland entertain the Iona Gaels.
Both squads are sporting 7-2 league marks at the moment, placing them in a tie for second place in the MAAC standings behind only Niagara (8-1).
The Greyhounds are currently enjoying a three-game win streak and victories in six of the last seven contests overall, thanks to a 51-41 decision over Manhattan on Friday night in New York.
As for the Gaels, they remained perfect at home through eight games this season with a 90-71 triumph versus Saint Peter's two nights ago as well. The win was the seventh in the last eight games for the team overall, the lone loss during the stretch coming at Rider last weekend, 67-62.
The Gaels lead the all-time series between these two squads by a count of 41-13, but it was Loyola that captured the most recent encounter last season in Baltimore by an 87-81 margin. Iona won on its floor earlier in the 2011-12 campaign, 74-63.
Iona went from shooting 51.9 percent in the first half against the Peacocks a couple nights back to converting a sizzling 64.3 percent after the break, making it that much easier for the hosts to post the lopsided win. Every starter scored in double figures, led by Lamont Jones with 24 points, while David Laury recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards. Tre Bowman, Sean Armand and Tavin Sledge all dropped in 13 points, the latter handing out 10 of the unit's 21 assists. Not only did Iona make good on 58.2 percent from the floor for the entire game, the squad also connected on 12-of-19 beyond the arc as well. Jones, the leading scorer in three straight and six of the last seven games for the Gaels, is one of the nation's top producers with an impressive 22.3 ppg. Of his 445 points on the campaign, 122 have come at the free-throw line where he is 88.4 percent accurate. Armand (18.7 ppg) and Laury (13.9 ppg) help the Gaels to be one of the top scoring programs in the country with 81.9 ppg.
Loyola's defense was all over the Jaspers on Friday night, logging seven blocked shots and six steals, not to mention only 14 made field goals, as the Greyhounds captured the double-digit win. The low-scoring affair so no one on Loyola make more than just four field goals, with Erik Etherly generating a team-best 12 points, followed by Anthony Winbush with nine points and eight rebounds in the triumph as well. Missing the game was Dylon Cormier, the team's leading scorer with 17.6 ppg, as he came down with food poisoning, a condition that also has him listed as questionable for action on Sunday. Should Cormier again be absent from the lineup, that leaves Etherly (15.3 ppg) and Robert Olson (11.3 ppg) to try and shoulder much of the load at the offensive end. But again, it is the defense that has made the team so successful this season, holding opponents to just 59.9 ppg.
Should Cormier even be ready to play in this meeting, he still won't be 100 percent and that opens the door for the Gaels for sure.