Loyola discovered a simple formula for success last night at Towson Catholic - stay disciplined on offense and get the ball into Matt Rum's hands.
Rum scored 24 of his game-high 31 points in the second half - including 16 in the fourth quarter - to help the visiting Dons pull out a 61-59 victory over the No. 8 Owls in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League showdown.
Rum, a 6-foot-3 senior guard, will go to William and Mary next year and looked like a college player in the second half.
Loyola (6-1, 3-1 MIAA, 2-0 BCL) took the lead for good midway through the second quarter and held a 31-27 halftime edge. That's when Rum took over.
He scored 24 of his team's 30 second-half points. The guard made long shots, close shots and a number of key free throws, including two with seven seconds left that sealed the victory. Rum scored 11 straight points in one fourth-quarter stretch.
"I struggled in this gym in the past, and I don't know why," Rum said about the small Towson Catholic gym. "But my teammates got me open and got me the ball."
Loyola's offense remained patient against the Owls, who threw a number of presses at them. Towson Catholic (4-2, 3-1, 1-1) tried to rattle the Dons with pressure, but point guard Mike Fitzpatrick (seven points, six assists) guided Loyola nicely throughout.
The Dons did a good job of passing and cutting at the right times against the Owls, giving Rum and his teammates a number of open looks and letting them slow the pace of the game in the second half and stay in command.
"We really stayed disciplined," Loyola coach Josh Davalli said. "It was 32 minutes of good basketball."
Devin Spencer (22 points) tried to bring Towson Catholic back in the fourth quarter. He scored 15 points on five very long-range three-pointers in the final period, but it wasn't enough.
NO. 4 CALVERT HALL 62, SOLEBURY 46: : Damion Lee and Donya Jackson combined to score 24 points to lead the Cardinals (6-1) past the Lions in the opening round of the Hill School Tournament. The Cardinals face host Hill School today at 5:15 p.m.
NO. 7 JOHN CARROLL 47, CARDINAL GIBBONS 39: : Isaiah Philmore scored a game-high 16 points to power the host Patriots (7-3) past the Crusaders.
PARK 79, KEY SCHOOL 78: : Karl Nelson scored five of his 42 points in the final minute - including the game-winning layup with 12 seconds left - to lift the host Bruins (4-2) over the Obezags (4-6).
NO. 2 ARUNDEL 89, ANNAPOLIS 26: : Ashley Davis scored 15 and Ebonee Jones added 12 points as the host Wildcats (3-1) beat the Panthers.
No. 13 MERCY 44, TOWSON CATHOLIC 38:: The Magic (7-1) outscored the Lady Owls 17-12 in the third quarter in what was a one-point game at halftime. Mercy's Margaret Marion scored eight of her game-high 14 points in the period. Towson Catholic fell to 5-4.
Baltimore Sun reporters contributed to this article.