`Long year' over for Loyola with 62-39 setback to Iona

Greyhounds finish 4-24 after MAAC tourney loss

College Basketball

March 08, 2003|By Dan Hickling | Dan Hickling,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TRENTON, N.J. - It's been a tough season for the Loyola men, their worst in a decade. Mercifully, it came to a close last night in the opening round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament when the No. 10 seed Greyhounds absorbed a 62-39 pasting by No. 5 Iona.

Loyola trailed just 25-20 at halftime, raising hopes for an upset. But the Greyhounds shot just 23.1 percent in the second half (27.1 percent for the game) and put the capper on a 4-24 season, second only to the 2-27 mark of 1992-93 for ineptitude.

"It's been a very long year for our team," said a drained Loyola coach Scott Hicks. "Something that I don't think anyone expected. We were picked for 10th [in the MAAC], but I thought we could do better."

The Greyhounds put up their lowest point total of the season, and no player scored in double figures. Irakli Nijaradze came off the bench to lead the team with nine points.

"Despite our hard work and effort, we couldn't put the ball in the basket," Hicks said. "When you can't score, you can't win in this league."

Greyhound shooters suffered through a subpar first half (31.8 percent), yet were still within reach of the Gaels, who had defeated Loyola by 37 points in their last meeting less than two weeks ago. Iona did its part by making just 37 percent of its shots.

"I thought we played pretty bad," said Iona coach Jeff Ruland, "and still we were up by five."

But Iona threw together an 8-2 run early in the second half, making it 35-23 with 15:40 to go, and wound up outscoring the Greyhounds 37-19 in the half. Game-high scorer Steve Burtt had eight of his 13 points in that span.

"All we can do is look forward to next year," said Loyola sophomore Lucious Jordan. "We don't have any choice."

NOTES: The MAAC announced its league awards yesterday. Manhattan junior guard Luis Flores was honored as Player of the Year, and Manhattan's Bobby Gonzalez was named Coach of the Year.

LOYOLA-Thomas 1-5 1-2 3, Southall 0-2 0-0 0, Chatman 1-5 1-2 4, Jordan 2-9 0-0 4, Bossman 1-4 0-0 3, Bell 2-7 4-6 8, Allen 0-5 0-0 0, Dickey 0-0 0-0 0, Hinds 0-0 0-0 0, Nijaradze 3-6 3-3 9, Chivers 2-4 1-4 6, Alujevic 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 13-48 10-17 39. IONA-Fields 2-5 3-4 8, Smith 5-9 0-1 10, Henson 3-6 0-0 6, Wofford 2-6 0-0 6, McCullough 2-8 2-2 7, Soliver 3-10 1-1 7, Burtt Jr. 4-8 4-4 13, Williams 1-2 0-0 2, Dagostino 0-1 0-0 0, Wachsmann 1-4 1-2 3. Totals 23-59 11-14 62. Half-Iona, 25-20. 3-point goals-Loyola 3-13 (Chivers 1-1, Chatman 1-2, Bossman 1-4, Allen 0-1, Bell 0-2, Jordan 0-3), Iona 5-19 (Wofford 2-4, Fields 1-2, McCullough 1-5, Burtt Jr. 1-5, Henson 0-1, Soliver 0-2). Fouled out-none. Rebounds-Loyola 33 (Chivers 7), Iona 44 (Smith 9). Assists-Loyola 8 (Bell 2), Iona 18 (McCullough, Wachsmann 3). Total fouls-Loyola 17, Iona 15. A-n/a.

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