Loyola-Maryland (9-4) at Memphis (8-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 30, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: FedExForum (18,119) -- Memphis, Tennessee. Television: Comcast Sportsnet. Home Record: Loyola 4-2, Memphis 7-1. Away Record: Loyola 2-2, Memphis 0-0. Neutral Record: Loyola 3-0, Memphis 1-2. Conference Record: Loyola 1-1, Memphis 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Loyola-Maryland Greyhounds will try to pull off an upset as they visit the FedExForum for a non-conference tilt against the Memphis Tigers.
Jimmy Patsos and his Greyhounds will try to bounce back from their 66-46 loss to Bucknell on Friday that dropped their overall record to 9-4. Loyola is 1-1 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action after losing to Niagara by one- point and defeated Saint Peter's by six. The Greyhounds play at a slower pace that has yielded a scoring offense of 64.5 points per game on 41.8 percent shooting from the floor, which is much better than their opposition's average of 59.7 points with a .396 field goal percentage.
The Tigers picked up their second victory in a row on Friday by coasting to a 72-57 decision over Oral Roberts at home. Josh Pastner's squad is now 8-3 on the season with its only loss in eight games at FedExForum coming courtesy of the nationally ranked Louisville Cardinals. Memphis also experienced setbacks to very tough Virginia Commonwealth and Minnesota teams in the Battle 4 Atlantis in late November. The Tigers are playing well overall as they are outscoring their competition by an average of 8.4 ppg, while also maintaining a positive 6.2 rebound per contest margin on the boards.
This will be the first meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood.
Loyola's lack of offensive firepower was evident in its loss to Bucknell as it converted just 12-of-46 field goal attempts after making eight of its first ten shots. Dylan Cormier was the only Greyhound to reach double figures with 13 points. The team dished out only eight assists to 11 turnovers and had no answer for the Bison's star center Mike Muscala, who tallied 29 points on 13- of-21 shooting from the field. Cormier is pacing Loyola with 16.8 ppg, while senior forward Erik Etherly (14.1 ppg) and Robert Olson (11.5 ppg) are also owners of double-digit scoring averages. Senior Anthony Winbush, who pulled down nine boards versus Bucknell, is the Greyhounds' leader on the glass with 7.4 boards per outing.
Antonio Barton netted 17 points and Joe Jackson chipped in 13 to lead Memphis to its 15-point decision over Oral Roberts. The Tigers got after it on the defensive end as the Golden Eagles made only 37.1 percent of their field goal attempts and ORU's leading scorer, Warren Niles, was held to two points on 10- of-11 shooting after entering with a 21.3 ppg average. Jackson is leading Memphis, which has four players with double-digit scoring averages, with 12.3 points and 4.1 assists per outing. Geron Johnson (11 ppg), Tarik Black (10.9 ppg), and Adonis Thomas (10.9 ppg) have all been effective on the offensive end. Freshman Shaq Goodwin (8.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg) is making an impact on the inside.
Goodwin may end up being the x-factor in this one as Loyola's suspect interior should allow the rookie to provide the hosts with multiple easy buckets. Memphis has an array of athletic perimeter players that will be able to shut down Cormier and the Greyhounds.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Memphis 73, Loyola-Maryland 55
12/30 11:04:38 ET