Loyola is beaten, 79-55, suffers 28th straight defeat

Niagara rolls

'Hounds sit 5 shy of tying NCAA mark

College Basketball

January 17, 2004|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Loyola's efforts late in the first half last night, when it took a healthy cut into a 13-point deficit against Niagara, could be identified as giving its fans false hope.

Right now, there's no other kind of hope for those observing the Greyhounds, who quickly fell further behind in the second half of a 79-55 loss to the Purple Eagles in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game.

It was the 12th straight loss to Niagara (10-4, 4-1) and 28th consecutive defeat overall for Loyola (0-15, 0-6), which has five games left to avoid equaling the NCAA record for consecutive losses , a 33-game run by Grambling from 1999 to 2000.

Before a sparse crowd at Reitz Arena, Niagara took a 33-26 halftime lead and wasted little time expanding it. Eagles forward Juan Mendez, fresh off a 35-point, 13-rebound game against Iona on Sunday, led a 20-2 spurt to begin the second half and finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds.

Mendez and James Reaves combined for nine offensive rebounds in the second half.

"Eventually they wore us down," said Loyola coach Scott Hicks. "The key plays were offensive rebounds by their big men."

Mendez's basket at the 13:51 mark of the second half put Niagara up 51-29 and pretty much ended any halftime speculation on Loyola's chances of winning. But such collapses have been common for the Greyhounds, who have lost five halftime leads this season, including one during a 64-48 setback to Marist on Jan. 9.

It shouldn't have been surprising to see the Eagles jump out to a quick 21-8 lead. Loyola's best player, Charlie Bell, was held out of the starting lineup with a sprained ankle, and one of its regular starters, Bobby Bossman, did not play because of a twisted ankle.

Up tomorrow for the Greyhounds is Canisius, a team that won its first league game last night but appears to be the most vulnerable of Loyola's coming opponents.

"We can't put our heads down," Bell said. "If we do that, we'll never get a win. It's tough, but all we can do is just stay focused."

NIAGARA -Mendez 12-20 3-4 27, Reaves 4-9 4-4 12, Darden 3-8 4-6 10, Cruz 5-8 0-0 11, Brooks 2-9 0-0 4, Miles 2-9 3-3 8, Villafane 0-1 0-0 0, Mathis 1-3 2-4 5, Duffey 0-1 0-0 0, Noel 0-1 0-0 0, deWet 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 30-70 16-21 79.

LOYOLA - Allen 1-8 2-5 4, Chivers 3-7 0-2 6, Nijaradze 1-4 2-2 4, Dixon 5-9 6-11 16, James 5-11 3-4 17, Bell 1-5 0-2 2, Corrigan 0-3 0-0 0, Tuck 2-11 2-2 6. Totals 18-58 15-28 55. Half - Niagara, 33-26. 3-point goals - Niagara 3-21 (Mendez 0-2, Darden 0-4, Cruz 1-2, Brooks 0-4, Miles 1-5, Villafane 0-1, Mathis 1-3), Loyola 4-20 (Allen 0-3, Dixon 0-3, James 4-7, Bell 0-3, Corrigan 0-1, Tuck 0-3). Fouled out - Chivers. Rebounds - Niagara 51 (Reaves 13), Loyola 42 (Bell, Tuck 7), Assists - Niagara 14 (Cruz 6), Loyola 8 (Dixon, Bell 3). A - 732.

Lots of losses

The Loyola men's basketball team has lost 28 consecutive games, the longest current Division I men's losing streak. The all-time Division I men's record is 33, set by Grambling from Dec. 6, 1999 to Dec. 16, 2000. The Greyhounds could tie the record on Jan. 31 at Saint Peter's, and could break it at home against Manhattan on Feb. 4. The remaining opponents for Loyola (0-15), with overall and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference records:

Date Opponent Record

1-18 Canisius 6-10, 1-4

1-23 at Manhattan 10-3, 5-0

1-25 at Fairfield 9-6, 2-2

1-29 Marist 5-10, 3-3

1-31 at Saint Peter's 8-6, 4-1

2-4 Manhattan 10-3, 5-0

2-8 at Rider 8-6, 2-2

2-12 at Siena 5-10, 2-4

2-19 at Niagara 10-4, 4-1

2-21 at Canisius 6-10, 1-4

2-25 Fairfield 9-6, 2-2

2-29 Iona 5-10, 3-3

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