GAME NOTES: One of three teams tied for second place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings, the Loyola-Maryland Greyhounds shoot for their third straight win on Friday night as they visit the Manhattan Jaspers at Draddy Gym.
Loyola has won five of its last six outings and now shows a 6-2 league mark, which has the team trailing only Niagara for the top spot in the MAAC. Earlier this week, the Greyhounds slipped by Fairfield in a 65-60 decision on the road.
As for the Jaspers, they have a grand total of five wins so far this season, but the good news is that three of those have come in conference play so at least the squad has been competitive. Last Saturday, Manhattan played a second straight game that ended in a 64-60 score, also the second straight loss for the squad as it bowed to Niagara on the road. The Jaspers have fallen in four of their last five outings.
In terms of the all-time series between these two teams, Manhattan owns a 31-22 advantage, but it was Loyola that won the most recent meeting by a score of 62-60 in Riverdale last season.
These two squads will close out the regular season against each other on Loyola's home floor on March 3.
Dylon Cormier scored a team-best 21 points as the Greyhounds slipped by Fairfield at Webster Bank Arena on Monday night. Also scoring in double figures for the visitors were Erik Etherly and Jordan Latham with 16 and 10 points, respectively, the former collecting nine rebounds which was more than twice as many as his closest teammate. The squad managed to outscore the Stags at the free-throw line, 24-18, which helped to compensate for the fact that they made just three 3-pointers. Not much of a 3-point shooting team to begin with, Loyola is averaging just under four conversions per contest as it hit a mere 28.3 percent on the outside. Nevertheless, the team is outscoring the competition by more than four points per contest thanks to Cormier (17.6 ppg) and Etherly (15.5 ppg) who combine for about half of the unit's 65.2 ppg right now.
Considering how far apart the Jaspers and Purple Eagles are in terms of their records this season, Manhattan gave it a pretty good run just to be within four points at the end versus Niagara on the road on Saturday. Had the Jaspers not suffered from 20 turnovers and just 13-of-20 shooting at the free-throw line, the outcome could have easily swung in their favor. Mohamed Koita was the top scorer for the visitors with 13 points, hitting all three of his field goal attempts, all from 3-point range, and each of his four free-throw attempts. Shane Richards and CJ Jones chipped in with 10 points apiece as well. At this stage of the campaign, the Jaspers have only one active double- digit scorer in Brown with his 11.7 ppg. The loss of George Beamon (16.8 ppg) to injury early in the season has left Manhattan without its primary scoring threat, and that has led to the program struggling to come up with 58.4 ppg, which means they are being outscored by six points per game.
The Jaspers put up a strong fight against Niagara but just could not pull off the upset. Perhaps being at home will strengthen the team's chances, but still the odds of coming out on the winning side are slim.