For Loyola, only two positive developments came out of its game against Manhattan last night.
First, the Greyhounds won't have to face Manhattan in the quarterfinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament. And second, B.J. Pendleton scored the 1,000th point of his career.
The Greyhounds were pounded by the defending champions of the MAAC, as Manhattan built a 14-point lead at the half and rolled to an 84-71 victory at Reitz Arena.
Manhattan (16-9, 9-4) is most likely headed to the No. 2 seed for the MAAC tournament, next weekend in Albany, N.Y. Loyola (13-12, 5-8) finishes the regular season at home Sunday against Fairfield. The winner will be seeded fifth and play in the other half of the draw.
Despite losses in five of their past seven games, the Greyhounds can clinch their first winning season since 1986-87 by beating Fairfield.
Last night's loss was Loyola's worst at home since a 20-point setback to St. Joseph's Dec. 4. It was the Greyhounds' first game at Reitz Arena since Feb. 7, and their third game in five nights. They lost at Maryland Saturday and didn't get home from Monday's win at Fordham until 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, but first-year coach Skip Prosser wouldn't use fatigue as an excuse.
"They beat us to the loose balls and hit the big shots," Prosser said. "You either make the plays or you don't."
Manhattan made 55 percent of its field-goal attempts and limited the Greyhounds to 42.6, and had a 44-28 rebounding edge.
Manhattan struggled immediately after it lost leading scorer Carey Edwards to a broken foot three weeks ago. Even with Edwards out, the Jaspers beat the Greyhounds by 15 last week. Loyola doesn't match up with Manhattan, which late in the first half looked like a good bet to return to the NCAA field.
A transition basket by Michael Reese on an assist from Teron Owens had the Greyhounds within 25-22 with 6:29 left in the half, but from then until the break, they were outplayed by the Jaspers, who scored 15 of the next 17 points.
Ted Ellis, a 6-foot-2 sophomore from De Matha who replaced Edwards in the Manhattan starting lineup, sparked the spurt by blocking a 15-foot jumper by Darius Johnson and converting a three-point play at the other end. Ellis led the Jaspers with 20 points, freshman forward Jason Hoover had 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Pendleton briefly got the Greyhounds back in it midway through the second. The junior forward, who scored 19 of his game-high 21 in the second half, went over 1,000 on a three-point play with 13:06 left.
"We needed time to gel after Edwards' injury, but we're getting there," said Fran Fraschilla, Manhattan's second-year coach. "Loyola's a very athletic team, but that's one of our strengths too."