James' 27 points lead Loyola, 97-89

Patsos gets 1st win

Guard is 9-for-9 from field as 'Hounds upset Niagara

College Basketball

December 06, 2004|By Matt Papuchis | Matt Papuchis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Last season it took Loyola College 19 games before it registered its first win. This season, it took the Greyhounds six.

After five tough losses, including two at home by a combined six points, the Greyhounds put together a solid group effort last night and defeated visiting Niagara, 97-89, before a small yet exuberant crowd of 1,746 at Reitz Arena.

The win not only is the first of the season for Loyola, but it also is the first win for the Greyhounds in the Jimmy Patsos era. The former Maryland assistant coach under Gary Williams has transformed a program that didn't score more than 71 points in a game all last season into a program that has already eclipsed the 80-point mark three times.

Still, Patsos insists the turnaround doesn't have as much to do with him as it does his players.

"It was a great win by the kids. It had nothing to do with me," he said. "They really performed. They didn't hang their heads because we didn't really play well at St. Peter's. We came back and got tough."

Sophomore Shane James led the way for Loyola (1-5, 1-1 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) with 27 points, going 9-for-9 from the field.

"We knew that Niagara was one of the best teams in the conference," James said. "We wanted to come out and show everyone we aren't going to finish last this year."

Four other Greyhounds also put up double-digit point totals - Freddie Stanback (14), Brad Farrell (14), Bernard Allen (12) and Charlie Bell (20, which included 14-for-17 from the free-throw line).

Loyola took the opening tip and James scored on a three-pointer less than 30 seconds into the game, and that set the tone. Shooting nearly 55 percent from the field, Loyola put together several scoring runs to take leads of 28-16 midway through the first half and 51-39 early in the second half.

But behind the play of Juan Mendez (20 points, 13 rebounds) and Lorenzo Miles (17 points), Niagara (4-2, 1-1) refused to go away, and even made it a one-point game with 10 minutes left. But after his second technical foul with 7:52 left, Mendez fouled out and Miles did as well five minutes later. Their presence was obviously missed late by the Purple Eagles, and their absence allowed Loyola to hold on for the win.

"We're building," Patsos said. "We played 25 good minutes against Virginia Tech, 22 against Pittsburgh. I thought today we played for 40 minutes."

NIAGARA - Duffey 1-3 4-6 6, Mendez 6-13 8-15 20, Miles 6-16 0-0 17, Cruz 5-12 1-2 13, Brooks 3-9 1-2 9, Hodge 0-1 0-0 0, Mathis 6-9 5-6 17, Durosier 2-6 0-0 6, Fisher 0-5 1-2 1. Totals 29-74 20-33 89.

LOYOLA - Stanback 5-7 1-2 14, Nixon 3-7 1-2 7, Corrigan 0-3 1-2 1, James 9-9 8-13 27, Farrell 4-10 6-9 14, Bouindas 1-1 0-0 2, Allen 3-8 6-8 12, Bell 3-5 14-17 20, Chivers 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-51 37-53 97.

Halftime-Loyola, 40-36. 3-point goals-Niagara 11-28 (Miles 5-10, Cruz 2-6, Brooks 2-5, Durosier 2-3 Fisher 0-1, Mendez 0-2, Duffey 0-1), Loyola 4-6 (Stanback 3-4, James 1-1, Bell 0-1). Fouled out-Fisher, Corrigan, Brooks 5. Rebounds-Niagara 46 (Mendez 13), Loyola 33 (James 8). Assists-Niagara 15 (Cruz 7), Loyola 13 (Farrell 3). Total fouls-Niagara 37, Loyola 28. A-1746.

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