A Day Afterward, Loyola Fans, Players Still Savoring Upset

72-67 Victory At Indiana Might Be Best Ever In Regular Season, Some Say

December 24, 2009|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,jeff.barker@baltsun.com

A day after Loyola upset Indiana, Greyhounds supporters debated whether it was the greatest win in the program's history and senior guard Brett Harvey marveled about the most unforgettable moments he has had on a basketball court.

Harvey scored 25 points to lead Loyola to a 72-67 win at Indiana's Assembly Hall on Tuesday night in a game in which the Greyhounds lost a 24-point lead before Harvey hit a pair of key baskets in the final minutes.

Some Loyola backers - about 20 of them traveled with the team and sat behind the bench - dubbed it the program's biggest regular-season win. "I don't think there is any question it's [coach] Jimmy Patsos' biggest win in his Loyola tenure," said Mike Kaiser, a 1973 Loyola graduate and former player who attended the game. Patsos arrived after the 2004 season.

Left for argument was whether the win eclipsed Loyola's 1993-94 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament victories that landed the school in the NCAA tournament under the late Skip Prosser.

Harvey, whose Greyhounds (6-5) had lost by 41 points at Duke last season and by 30 points at Kansas the season before, said: "I think it's probably the highest-profile team that the school has ever beat. I will never forget this. Going into the game, probably nobody thought we were going to beat them. It's us against the world in a situation like that."

Harvey described an almost surreal moment early in the contest. "You look up at the rafters and they have five national championship banners - and Isiah Thomas played there - and you look at the scoreboard and we're up 15-0 and you can't believe it," Harvey said.

Loyola led 46-22 before Indiana came back. The Hoosiers took a 65-62 lead, but Harvey made several key plays, including hitting a 3-pointer and a free throw with 1:50 to go to give the Greyhounds the lead for good.

"Some people are saying it's the biggest win in Loyola's history," said Steve Collins, a 1980 Loyola graduate and former player who also attended the game, calling it "a memory of a lifetime."

Patsos said Wednesday that he intentionally schedules games against teams with elite histories. At 5-6, the Hoosiers are rebuilding under coach Tom Crean but still play in a better-known conference (the Big Ten) and in front of many more fans - there were an announced 11,321 attending Tuesday night - than Loyola typically does. Enrollment at the Bloomington campus is more than 42,000. Loyola's enrollment is about 6,000.

"We decided five years ago, 'Let's go to places with national championship banners,' " Patsos said. "It's good for recruiting, it's good for the school, but most important, it's good for the players."

Patsos said in his post-game comments that his players had been "fired up" to play the Hoosiers. "We're a mid-major. We play in front of 2,000 people. This is a big deal for us."

Collins said he and other supporters had accompanied the team on its trip to Kansas a few seasons ago. "You go expecting it will be all about the experience of seeing these meccas of basketball," Collins said. "You don't go expecting a win."

Patsos said the Indiana victory was particularly special because athletic director Joe Boylan, in his 19th year, is retiring at the end of the school year.

"I said [after the game] that 'this one is for you, Joe,' " Patsos said.

LOYOLA@ BUCKNELL

Monday, 7 p.m.

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