GAME NOTES: The Loyola-Maryland Greyhounds are set to open their Metro
Atlantic Athletic Association schedule tonight as they welcome the Niagara
Purple Eagles to Reitz Arena.
Niagara got its MAAC schedule started last Wednesday with an 11-point loss at
Iona. The Purple Eagles are off to a 2-5 start and enter this contest looking
to avoid a fourth straight loss on their current road trip. Their most recent
outing resulted in a 66-64 setback at Central Michigan on Sunday.
Loyola had a six-game win streak snapped with Saturday's rather lopsided 65-50
loss at Florida Gulf Coast. Still, with seven wins through nine games, the
Greyhounds are off to their second-best start in school history since becoming
a Division I member. Last year's squad was 8-1 through nine games and went on
to win the MAAC championship.
Niagara holds a 34-17 lead in the all-time series, although Loyola has won
each of the last two meetings.
Niagara trailed CMU 33-13 at one point during the first half. The Purple
Eagles rallied to cut the deficit to 12 at halftime, and they later went on a
22-6 second-half run to take their first lead of the game at 50-49 with seven
minutes to play. But after leading by as many as five with 4:47 remaining,
several turnovers down the stretch allowed the Chippewas to regain the lead
for good. Antoine Mason led all scorers with 24 points in the loss, marking
his second straight 20-point game. Juan'ya Green joined him in double figures
with 12 points, while T.J. Cline came off the bench to tally nine points and a
career-best 11 rebounds. On the season, Mason paces the squad with 19.3 points
per game to go along with 4.4 rebounds per game. Green (15.3 ppg) and Ameen
Tanksley (10.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg) are also averaging double figures.
After winning six in a row, Loyola trailed from start to finish against
Florida Gulf Coast this past Saturday. Jordan Latham was one of the few bright
spots for the Greyhounds in the loss, as he erupted for a game-high 17 points
on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor. In fact, it took Latham less than 11
minutes into the contest to eclipse his previous career-high of nine points.
Dylon Cormier chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds, although he also
accounted for six of the team's season-high 17 turnovers. Robert Olson rounded
out the team's double-digit scorers with 10 points, albeit on 4-of-15 shooting
from the field. Aside from Latham, the rest of the club shot just 26 percent
(13-of-50) for the game. Through nine games, Cormier is averaging a team-best
17.7 points to go along with 5.6 rpg, while Olson is averaging 11.6 ppg and
4.7 rpg. Loyola has missed the presence of starting forward Erik Etherly (15.7
ppg, 8.0 rpg), who has missed the last three games with a sprained shoulder
that is expected to keep him sidelined for at least a month.
Without Etherly roaming the paint, the Greyhounds are vulnerable against teams
with size. But against Niagara's four-guard lineup, Loyola should be able to
overcome his absence.