Loyola can do little in absorbing 56-35 loss

Gai-led Fairfield hands Greyhounds trouncing as record falls to 3-17

February 04, 2005|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

The Loyola College men's basketball team took another painful step backward in its rebuilding process last night. This time, the visiting Fairfield Stags, with 6-foot-9 senior center Deng Gai leading the way, dragged the Greyhounds to another low point.

Gai, the nation's leading shot blocker, recorded his first career triple double with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks as Fairfield took command early, never trailed and cruised to a 56-35 victory before 1,313 at Reitz Arena.

Loyola (3-17, 2-9) lost its sixth straight game, all in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play, and did the Greyhounds ever lose with a thud. Loyola, sluggish from the start, shot just 26.8 percent on 15-for-56 shooting, missed 14 of 16 three-point attempts and scored their fewest points since Harry Truman occupied the White House.

During the 1951-52 season, North Carolina State beat Loyola - then coached by Lefty Reitz - 74-33.

Last night's result was enough to make first-year Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos question the intestinal fortitude of his players, none of whom scored in double figures.

"That's the second time this year we didn't compete. I don't know if they were scared. I saw some things tonight that really woke me up," Patsos said.

"We had wide-open looks [at the basket] and we can't make them. We can't make a free throw at home. I'm in the huddle asking them to take open shots. I'm getting looks from guys I'm not used to. I'm trying to understand why we wouldn't be excited to play tonight. Nobody's starting job is safe."

Loyola was done barely after it got started. Gai, who was being watched by a scout from the Seattle SuperSonics, scored on back-to-back slams to stake Fairfield (11-9, 8-3) to a 6-3 lead. The Stags flustered Loyola with their zone defense, attacked the Greyhounds' zone with good perimeter shooting, and pulled away to a 32-15 halftime lead without much effort.

Gai scored on three more alley-oop jams in the first 10 minutes of the second half, helping the Stags lead by as many as 26 points midway through the period. Forward Michael Van Schaick finished with 11 points. Guard Terrence Todd added 10.

Loyola freshman guard Brad Farrell, who led the Greyhounds with seven points, said Gai intimidated the Greyhounds. Gai played 35 minutes without committing a foul.

"We came out afraid. We heard NBA and I think it affected all of us, including me," Farrell said. "This is the hardest loss of the whole season because we weren't into the game."

Gai wasted no time establishing his interior presence by blocking four shots and scoring seven points in the game's first five minutes as Loyola found itself in a 14-5 hole with 14:19 left in the first half.

FAIRFIELD -Maxwell 3-6 0-0 6, Van Schaick 4-7 0-0 11, Gai 8-14 2-2 19, Todd 3-10 2-2 10, Goode 2-6 1-2 7, Bell 0-2 0-0 0, Oglesby 0-0 0-0 0, O'Sullivan 0-0 0-0 0, Sogadzi 0-4 0-0 0, DiStefano 0-1 0-0 0, Cambria 0-0 0-0 0, Bentley 0-1 0-0 0, Carter 1-2 1-2 3, Middleton 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-54 6-8 56. LOYOLA - Stanback 2-9 0-0 5, Allen 1-7 0-2 3, Farrell 3-8 1-2 7, Hinds 2-5 0-0 4, James 2-5 0-0 4, Manning 0-0 0-1 0, Fox 0-1 0-0 0, Bell 2-8 2-3 6, Corrigan 1-6 0-0 2, Nijaradze 0-0 0-0 0, Chivers 2-4 0-0 4, Alujevic 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 15-56 3-8 35. Halftime-Fairfield, 32-15. 3-point goals-Fairfield 8-21 (Van Schaick 3-5, Goode 2-5, Gai 1-2, Todd 2-6, Sogadzi 0-1, Bentley 0-1, Carter 0-1), Loyola 3-8 (Bell 2-3, Farrell 1-2, Maning 0-1, Allen 0-2). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Fairfield 37 (Gai 11), Loyola 41 (Stanback, Allen 6). Assists-Fairfield 16 (Goode 4), Loyola 6 (Farrell 2). Total fouls-Fairfield 15, Loyola 12. A-1,313.

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