Loyola's biggest crowd of the season, including National Basketball Association scouts, came to Reitz Arena to look at La Salle guard Doug Overton, but backcourt mate Randy Woods gave them a brief look at what's to follow next season.
Woods, a 6-foot junior, scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help the Explorers -- who had a 27-point lead in the first half -- hold off a late Loyola rally for a 94-84 win before 2,219.
That's not to say Overton had a bad night. The 6-foot-3 senior shooting guard did nothing to discourage the scouts, as he scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds in helping the Explorers (9-3 overall, 3-1 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play) won for the 30th time in their past 31 league outings.
Loyola guard Kevin Green scored 23 points, and Tracy Bergan added 18 for the Greyhounds (6-9, 0-5), who lost for the second time this season to La Salle and lost for the fifth time in their past six games. Loyola has beaten La Salle only once -- in 1944 -- in 29 career meetings.
It was the battle of the backcourts going in, but Woods and Overton had the edge with their hustle and steady play. Even though both went long stretches at the start of the second without scoring (nine minutes for Overton and 11 minutes for Woods), both hit key baskets that helped stop a late Loyola rally.
"I love those two kids -- they're great players," Loyola coach Tom Schneider said of Overton and Woods. "Overton is going to be a No. 1 draft choice. And Randy just comes to play basketball every night, and it shows."
The game's key possession came after Green hit a jumper that pulled the Greyhounds within 80-73 with 4 minutes, 37 seconds left. After a La Salle timeout, center Milko Lieverst missed a jumper from 10 feet, but teammate Broderick President got the rebound. After another missed shot by La Salle, the loose ball was tipped to the top of the key into the hands of Overton, who hit a momentum-killing three-pointer.
"They just killed us all night on the boards and with the loose balls," Schneider said. "It really hurt when they got the two rebounds and Overton hit the three."