ALBANY, N.Y. -- The game might have been over before it began.
More precisely, Loyola's hopes of winning last night's game against La Salle faded when Doug Overton walked onto the court.
Overton, La Salle's outstanding senior guard, was questionable for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference playoff game with a sprained ankle. Yet when the game started, Overton was moving freely without any sign of pain.
But Overton didn't win the game with his shooting. It was his defense that helped La Salle to its 86-70 victory.
La Salle moved into a semifinal with St. Peter's. Loyola (12-16) ended its season with five straight losses.
Overton started and played all but one minute in the first half, but the layoff affected his shooting. He missed his first six shots before hitting a 10-foot bank shot 10 minutes into the game.
Overton finished with nine points on 4-for-21 shooting, including 1-for-8 on three-pointers. But his tough defense in the second half on Loyola guard Kevin Green helped repel a Greyhounds comeback attempt.
Green nearly single-handedly kept Loyola in the game, scoring a game-high 30 points on 12-for-19 shooting, including five three-pointers. But La Salle's pressure defense forced Green into seven turnovers, and the team had 20. Loyola was also beaten inside, as 6-foot-9 Milko Lieverst and 6-6 Jack Hurd combined for 38 points and 17 rebounds.
Despite the loss, Schneider was encouraged by the team's showing and overall performance this season.
"We tripled our wins and doubled our wins in the league," said Schneider. "Certainly we've improved, but I can't say I'm satisfied. We're better than last year, but there are still some things we have to do."