Norfolk State (2-1) vs. Loyola-Maryland (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 17, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mohegan Sun Arena (10,000) -- Uncasville, Connecticut. Television: None. Home Record: NSU 0-0, Loyola 2-0. Away Record: NSU 2-1, Loyola 0-1. Neutral Record: NSU 0-0, Loyola 0-0. Conference Record: NSU 0-0, Loyola 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Playing on the road for the fourth time in as many games to kick off the 2012-13 campaign, the Norfolk State Spartans take on the Loyola- Maryland Greyhounds in the Springfield Bracket of the quarterfinal round of the 2012 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.
Last week the Spartans began their odyssey with a win over Rhode Island, 67-55, as part of this event but then bowed to Seton Hall on Monday by a final of 78-65. Two days ago NSU landed back in the win column with a 78-66 triumph over Longwood in Virginia.
As for the Greyhounds, they too have gotten off to a 2-1 start this season and like the Spartans also split a pair of victories with a setback in between. The most recent win for Loyola came on Wednesday when the group handed UMBC an 86-70 setback, marking its highest scoring output over the first week of action.
Following this first-ever meeting, these two teams will be back in action tomorrow as they align themselves with Albany and UMKC pending the outcome of the two battles.
Against Longwood, the Spartans fell behind by five points very early in the meeting, but the visitors then converted not just 53.1 percent from the floor in the first half, but an impressive 6-of-7 behind the three-point line to assume a double-digit advantage at the break and cruise to the win. Rashid Gaston came off the bench to record a double-double consisting of 14 points and 11 rebounds, followed by fellow reserve Zieyik Estime' who dropped in 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting on the perimeter. Starters Pendarvis Williams and Malcolm Hawkins chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Despite shooting just 37.9 percent from the floor to this point, Williams is still the leading scorer for NSU with 14.3 ppg, while Hawkins and Gaston contribute 11.0 and 10.0 ppg, respectively, for a team that is generating 70 ppg and holding foes to 66.3 ppg on just 29.5 percent shooting beyond the arc.
UMBC held a brief lead against the Greyhounds in their meeting this week, but the visitors ended up shooting only 30.3 percent from the floor in the first half and that took the Retrievers out of the picture for good. Loyola survived 17 turnovers thanks to 50.9 percent shooting from the floor, 7-of-14 on the outside and a 45-28 rebounding advantage. Erik Etherly was responsible for 22 points and eight rebounds, followed by Dylon Cormier and Tyler Hubbard with 17 points apiece. Robert Olson contributed another 10 points in the team's second win of the season. Playing close to 34 minutes per game, Cormier is at the top of the scoring list for the Greyhounds with his 19.0 ppg, while Etherly not only produced 16.0 ppg, he is also responsible for a team-best 7.3 rpg. Olson (11.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg) has handed out a team-best eight assists, but at the same time has been charged with eight turnovers as well which isn't a ratio he should be proud of.
Being on the road all this time isn't exactly what the Spartans were hoping for, but at this point they just have to fight their way through it. One of those ways would be to defeat Loyola today.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Norfolk State 73, Loyola-Maryland 67
11/17 10:30:24 ET