Last season, the Loyola Greyhounds were in the midst of 10-game losing streak on their way to tying the school's worst season in Division I, 4-24. Last night against UMBC, the Greyhounds surpassed their 1989-90 win total and stopped an 11-year dry spell against the Retrievers.
That dry spell lasted seven games, and it ended with an 88-65 win over injury-riddled UMBC before 1,432 at the UMBC Fieldhouse. The victory gave Loyola (5-4) a three-game winning streak for the first time since 1988-89.
It was the Greyhounds' first win over UMBC since a 78-75 victory in the opening round of the Metro Classic during the 1978-79 season.
"We didn't talk that much about going over the wins from lasyear as much as we talked about having something positive to go out with for Christmas," said Loyola coach Tom Schneider, whose team plays its Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener at Manhattan on Jan. 2. "Also, we didn't want to read in the papers about how they beat us for the eighth straight time."
Guard Tracy Bergan scored a game-high 21 points, leading fouLoyola players in double figures. Kevin Green had 16, Kevin Anderson 15 and senior center Mike Wagner tied his career high with 14.
Guard Derrell Thompson had 14 and Spencer Ferguson 11 to lead UMBC. The Retrievers (1-8), losers of seven straight and off to their worst start in school history, played without leading scorer and rebounder Derrick Reid (15.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg), who was hospitalized Friday night with an infection in his bloodstream and is out indefinitely. With guard Bobby Mills missing his second straight game with an ankle injury and replacement Dana Harris limited to three minutes with a strained knee, the Retrievers started a senior, three sophomores and a freshman.
UMBC missed its first four shots and fell behind, 17-4.
The Retrievers were down, 26-9, when they scored eight pointduring a 55-second span to get to within 26-17. The team would even get as close as 32-23 with 4 minutes, 16 seconds left in the half, but were outscored, 9-2, in the final minutes to fall behind, 41-25, at the half.
"They took advantage of our weaknesses, especialldefensively," UMBC coach Earl Hawkins said. "We never could find our shots offensively. We had a lot of opportunities, but we just couldn't put the ball in the basket."
Loyola took its biggest lead, 61-35, on a three-point play bBergan midway through the second half. Ten players scored for the Greyhounds, including little-used Brian Condon (two points) and Billy Lee (three points).
"I like to see those kids get on the board because they work shard in practice," Schneider said. "I'm just sorry I couldn't get them in earlier."
Wagner was 5-for-5 from the field in the first half. When he scored on a hook shot with 17:50 left, it matched his his career high of 14 set during his freshman year against Campbell College.
It was the last game of the year for both teams. The Retrieverwill begin East Coast Conference play Jan. 2 at home against Bucknell.