"It was a great day for Loyola College," coach Tom Schneider was saying. "It was a great day for basketball in Baltimore."
You'd have thought Schneider's Loyola team had beaten Princeton here Saturday.
But, no, the Greyhounds lost, 47-46 -- which was hard to do, considering Princeton scored the final 11 points.
"It's hard to score against Princeton any time," said Schneider.
No matter. It was, as Schneider said, a great day for Loyola's program.
There was a near capacity crowd of 2,734 at Reitz Arena. The game was televised locally on Channel 45. And there was a prestigious opponent, Ivy League champion Princeton with its legendary coach, Pete Carril.
Princeton (8-3) has, in its last three games, won at North Carolina State and La Salle -- both in overtime -- and nipped Loyola. Obviously, Carril can still coach.
"Hey, the guy's a great coach," said Schneider, who was at Penn for four years before coming to Loyola and faced Carril twice a year (they were 4-4). "But Princeton is a good, tournament-tested team. This is the type of opponent you have to play if you want to improve your program."
Loyola has a strong basketball tradition, but in recent years Greyhound lacrosse and soccer have enjoyed greater success and popularity.
Loyola is trying to re-establish itself as a basketball school. That's why Schneider was brought in from Penn, where he went to the NCAA tourney. That's one reason Joe Boylan was chosen as athletic director a year ago. He's a basketball man.
The only thing that marred the day for the Greyhounds was that George Sereikas' last-second shot didn't go in.
"If justice was served," Schneider said, "it would have gone in for George. For what we wanted to do [Sereikas played great on defense and blocked five shots] and what we talked about, he did a great job."
Princeton was a showcase game for Loyola, a chance to step the program up, which is why the Greyhounds played harder than Carril had seen them play on tape.
"If Loyola plays this hard all the time," said Carril, "they'll be all right. I don't know, maybe Tommy still hates Princeton."
Siena will be lucky to draw half the crowd Princeton did when it plays at Loyola Thursday night.
* The No. 1 assistant at Richmond, where Loyola plays tonight, is Baltimorean Pat Dennis (Loyola High, Washington & Lee).
A lot of basketball types in our area have been pulling for young Dennis to get a head coaching job somewhere. Richmond coach Dick Tarrant, who has turned the Spiders into giant killers (Indiana, Syracuse in the NCAAs), may have the answer to that one.
"I'm hoping," says Tarrant, "that Pat stays with us long enough to follow me. I'm only going to coach another year or two."
Dennis could hardly pick a better spot for his first head job.
* I get a kick out of the Maryland football players who are saying their new coach, 38-year old Mark Duffner, has what Joe Krivak could not give them -- the youth and enthusiasm required to motivate athletes.
Krivak, at 56, is younger by four years than Carril and Tarrant, younger by five years than the New England Patriots' Dick MacPherson (who dazzled everyone with his enthusiasm), and younger by six years than Joe Paterno, whose Penn State team wound up No. 3 in the nation this year. Age is not Krivak's problem.
* One bunch of Baltimore area 16-year-olds who did something productive over the holidays is the S.C. Baltimore Kickers, an indoor soccer team. They were in Mexico City Dec. 26-31 and went to the finals of an international tournament, where they lost to the Mexican national team.
Shane Dougherty was high scorer for the locals with 11 goals in seven games. Two players, goalie Eddie Maynard and defenseman Zachary Wood, made the tournament all-star team.