Minus attention, Loyola can't equal last week's magic

With record skid avoided, Greyhounds beaten, 91-54, by first-place Manhattan

College Basketball

February 05, 2004|By Bo Smolka | Bo Smolka,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

All was back to normal at Loyola's Reitz Arena last night. The crowds had thinned, and the curiosity-seekers who had followed Loyola's bid to avoid setting the NCAA Division I men's basketball record for consecutive losses had scattered after the Greyhounds' win over Marist last Thursday.

In the aftermath, conference front-runner Manhattan efficiently and predictably rolled past the Greyhounds, 91-54, in a matchup of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's first- and last-place teams.

Luis Flores tied a season-high with 32 points to lead Manhattan (16-4, 11-1 MAAC) and guard Kenny Minor (Dunbar) added 10 points and a pair of steals. Peter Mulligan, a UMBC transfer who had torched the Greyhounds for 28 points in a 96-63 Jaspers win Jan. 23, added 18.

Charlie Bell scored 15 to lead Loyola (1-20, 1-11), which would have set the NCAA record last night with its 34th straight loss had it not been for the Marist victory.

After a boisterous, season-high crowd of 2,311 turned out for the win over Marist last week, a more typical Reitz Arena crowd of 730 saw Loyola overmatched by superior talent and relentless pressure.

Flores, the reigning MAAC Player of the Year, had 18 points in the first half, including seven during an early 9-2 run as the Jaspers took a 21-6 lead.

Loyola struggled mightily against the Jaspers' trapping defense, committing eight turnovers in the first 10 minutes. The Greyhounds never led and made just one field goal during an eight-minute span in the first half.

"They are one of the most talented teams in our league," Loyola coach Scott Hicks said. "They've got incredible firepower on offense, and they make you play 94 feet for 40 minutes. I thought we competed as hard as we could."

Manhattan led by as many as 20 late in the first half, though Loyola put together a 10-2 run sparked by forward Jim Chivers. He had a tip-in and then a steal and conventional three-point play in the span of 30 seconds that cut Manhattan's lead to 34-19 with 3:25 left in the half.

Loyola reduced Manhattan's lead to 38-26 by halftime, but the Jaspers opened the second half with eight straight points.

Minor, a former All-Metro player making his first collegiate appearance locally in front of many family members and friends, said, "We showed why we're the No. 1 team in the conference."

MANHATTAN - Konovelchick 2-5 0-0 6, Mulligan 6-9 5-5 18, Ngarndi 2-4 1-2 5, Flores 11-20 8-9 32, Gatling 1-1 0-0 3, Wingate 1-1 2-2 4, Minor 4-7 0-0 10, C. Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Enescu 0-0 0-0 0, D. Johnson 2-4 0-1 5, Benton 4-8 0-0 8. Totals 33-60 16-19 91. LOYOLA - Allen 2-6 0-4 4, Chivers 4-6 2-4 10, Dixon 5-12 2-4 14, Bell 4-14 5-6 15, James 1-7 3-5 5, Corrigan 1-3 2-3 4, Nijaradze 0-1 0-0 0, Chatman 0-2 0-0 0, Tuck 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 18-53 14-26 54. Half - Manhattan, 38-26. 3-Point goals-Manhattan 9-17 (Flores 2-6, Minor 2-2, Konovelchick 2-4, Mulligan 1-3, Gatling 1-1, D. Johnson 1-1), Loyola 4-16 (Dixon 2-5, Bell 2-5, James 0-2, Corrigan 0-2, Chatman 0-1, Allen 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Manhattan 38 (Ngarndi 8), Loyola 33 (Allen 7). Assists-Manhattan 8 (Benton, Minor, Flores 2), Loyola 6 (James 3). Total fouls-Manhattan 24, Loyola 17. Technicals-Loyola coach Hicks. A-730.

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