BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Going into last night's Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener at Fairfield, Loyola had started a season 5-0 only five times in its 94-year history. But with a thrilling 90-85 overtime victory over the Stags at the Arena at Harbor Yard, the Greyhounds improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1930.
Loyola had lost its previous eight games to Fairfield, including a 56-35 drubbing at home last season, but the Greyhounds are vastly improved. Loyola is just one win shy of its total from last season, when the Greyhounds went 6-22.
Andre Collins, whose three-point try with 4.5 seconds left missed the net, made a buzzer-beating three-pointer from the right wing to tie the game at 80 and send it into overtime. As a team, Loyola was 16-for-36 from three-point range.
"Andre said, `We're not losing. Give me the ball and I'll make it,'" Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos said. "So we came up with a play and got him the ball. To beat [Fairfield] in overtime is incredible, but Andre gets the credit."
In overtime, Shane James made a pair of layups for Loyola's only points in the first four minutes. Then, with 30 seconds left and the game tied at 84, Collins dribbled through traffic and made a layup to give the Greyhounds the lead for good.
Josko Alujevic and Collins each converted at the foul line for Loyola in the waning seconds to clinch the win. Fairfield fell to 1-5, 0-1 in the MAAC.
Collins finished with 23 points and has led Loyola in scoring in every game this season.
Patsos said Collins is a key reason the Greyhounds have been able to win close games. Loyola is winning by an average of 7.5 points a game.
"He makes big plays at the end of games and attracts a lot of attention on the defensive end," Patsos said.
The teams went back and forth in the first half, with neither leading by more than five points and Loyola up 41-37 at the break. The Greyhounds were spurred on by freshman Marquis Sullivan (Archbishop Spalding), who played nine minutes and went 4-for-6 from three-point range in the first half.
Sullivan, who had missed all six three-point shots he attempted this season, scored all 12 of the Greyounds' points in the final 3:18 of the first half, including a three-point shot at the buzzer.
"He's a Baltimore kid, and he has a lot of pressure, so it's nice for him being up here," Patsos said. "My only rule with him is if you don't shoot, I'll take you out. He kept shooting and kept making them."
Collins, who transferred from Maryland and was playing in his first MAAC game, struggled in the first half. The senior shot just 3-for-11 from the field and missed five of his seven three-point shots.
The Greyhounds went on their best run of the first half with 15:30 left. Trailing by five - the most it would trail by all night - Loyola went on a 9-0 run. Alujevic scored five points and Linton Hinds added a pair of layups to give the Greyhounds a 17-13 lead with 12 minutes remaining.
LOYOLA - Stanback 4-7 0-0 11, Alujevic 7-7 4-5 21, Tuck 1-2 1-4 3, Collins 8-23 2-2 23, James 4-10 3-4 12, Hinds 1-2 0-0 2, Sullivan 5-9 0-0 14, Khaleel 0-0 0-0 0, Wright 1-2 0-0 2, Farrell 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 32-65 10-15 90. FAIRFIELD - Bell 6-9 4-5 19, Carter 3-4 4-4 10, Todd 10-21 0-0 21, Han 3-7 2-2 9, Van Schaick 4-7 3-4 14, Oglesby 1-5 2-2 5, Allen 2-3 0-0 5, Reedal 0-2 0-0 0, Middleton 0-1 2-4 2. Totals 29-59 17-21 85. Halftime-Loyola, 41-37. End of regulation-80-80. 3-point goals-Loyola 16-36 (Collins 5-15, Sullivan 4-8, Alujevic 3-3, Stanback 3-5, James 1-3, Farrell 0-2), Fairfield 10-21 (Bell 3-5, Van Schaick 3-5, Allen 1-2, Han 1-2, Todd 1-3, Oglesby 1-3, Reedal 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Loyola 32 (Alujevic 9), Fairfield 34 (Todd 7). Assists-Loyola 16 (Collins 8), Fairfield 11 (Van Schaick 4). Total fouls-Loyola 18, Fairfield 11. A-2,218.