As time expired in the first quarter of yesterday's game at Loyola, a player from visiting Towson Catholic heaved a half-court desperation shot toward the basket. The shot missed badly but took a high bounce, hit a light switch on the wall and sent the gym into a temporary state of darkness.
It was one of the few shots that produced results for the Owls.
Eighth-ranked Loyola held Towson Catholic to 21 percent shooting from the field, as the Dons built an early lead and cruised to a 48-33 Catholic League victory.
"I thought we played pretty good defense," said Loyola coach Jerry Savage, "but obviously they weren't shooting the ball well, either. Hopefully, our defense had something to do with that."
In all probability, it was a combination of the Dons' hard-nosed defense and the Owls' rust after missing a week of practice, according to Towson Catholic coach Mike Daniel.
"I don't want to blame the layoff because everybody had it, but it made things tough," said Daniel, who said his team played hard, but couldn't get the shots to fall. "They did a good job getting opportunities, but then they missed a lot of easy shots and couldn't make their foul shots."
The Owls (8-6, 0-2) made seven of 18 free throws.
Loyola (9-3, 1-1) was right there to take advantage. The Dons took a 17-4 lead, when the Owls missed 13 of their first 15 shots.
Guards Jason Vogtman and Adam Shigley each scored 13 for Loyola, and 6-foot-6 center Matt Neumayer added 11.
Using a precision passing game, the Dons were often able to stay one step ahead of the Owls' aggressive defense and got a number of uncontested shots.
Loyola shot 53 percent in the first half in building a 26-13 lead. After that, Towson Catholic never got within 11.
Despite more than a week's layoff, the Dons' looked sharp. Players said a hard practice on Saturday was the difference.
"Sometimes after a layoff, we won't have the best practice," said Vogtman. "[Saturday] the guys really came out and played hard. We ran hard because we knew this would be a tough game."
"We worked hard on our man-to-man defense," said Shigley. "We felt a little sluggish today, but we're working on it."