Manhattan (12-17) vs. Loyola-Maryland (21-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 9, 9:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: MassMutual Center (7,552) -- Springfield, Massachusetts. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Manhattan 7-4, Loyola 11-3. Away Record: Manhattan 5-11, Loyola 7-7. Neutral Record: Manhattan 0-2, Loyola 3-0. Conference Record: Manhattan 9-9, Loyola 12-6. Series Record: Manhattan leads, 31-24.
GAME NOTES: Less than a week removed from their last clash, the Manhattan Jaspers and Loyola-Maryland Greyhounds get together on Saturday night for quarterfinal-round action in the 32nd annual Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament at the MassMutual Center.
Last Sunday, the Greyhounds posted a narrow 63-61 win over Manhattan in the regular-season finale, the team's fourth win in the last five outing in order to finish at 12-6 in conference play and grab the third seed in the tournament. The defending conference tournament champions, thanks to a 48-44 victory versus Fairfield, Loyola is still just 10-21 all-time in the event.
As for the sixth-seeded Jaspers, they have a mark of 18-28 in the tournament over the years and last played in the title game in 2004 when they posted a 62-61 win over Niagara. It was the second straight crown for Manhattan and the third overall for the program.
In terms of the all-time series between these two squads, the victory six days ago for the Greyhounds cut their deficit to 31-24.
The winner of this meeting will head to the semifinals on Sunday to challenge the survivor of the Fairfield/Rider battle to see who competes for the tournament title on Monday night.
As one of the lowest-scoring teams in the country this season with just 58.4 ppg, the Jaspers were dealt a huge blow within the first weeks of the campaign when George Beamon went down with an ankle injury and never returned. Beamon started off the campaign with a 29-point effort against Hofstra and then went downhill from there, leaving Manhattan with just one active double-digit scorer in Rhamel Brown (11.7 ppg), who was also the program's top rebounder (7.1 rpg) and interior defender (88 blocked shots), but with him seemingly getting into foul trouble all the time, the chances for victories decreased significantly.
Taking much of the credit for Loyola's success this season is the tandem of Erik Etherly and Dylon Cormier, both of whom made the All-MAAC First Team, the former turning the trick for the second year in a row. On a team that is generating 67.4 ppg, a huge chunk of that comes from Cormier (16.6 ppg) and Etherly (16.2 ppg), who always seem to be around the ball. The pair combined for close to 11 rebounds per contest and also delivered a collective 118 assists for the Greyhounds in order to keep teammates like Robert Olson (12.9 ppg) productive as he knocked down 64 3-point baskets, which was more than half the team's total output.
As long as the Greyhounds use what they learned from their most recent win over Manhattan, Loyola should be the one moving on to the next round of the tournament.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Loyola-Maryland 68, Manhattan 59
03/09 10:36:09 ET