Loyola's early rebounding, late 3s too much for sagging Towson

Tigers lose 16th in a row; J'hared Hall scores 19 in 21 minutes to lead Greyhounds

February 20, 2011|By Ken Murray, The Baltimore Sun

Its shooting comes and goes, but when Loyola University needed to score from outside the arc Saturday night, the Greyhounds had more answers — and sharpshooters — than Towson University could handle.

In a renewal of their neighborhood rivalry and an ESPN Bracketbusters matchup, the Greyhounds buried the Tigers, 75-57, behind a late barrage of 3-pointers and early domination on the boards.

It was Towson's 16th consecutive loss, extending the school's Division I record, and 10th straight at Towson Center.

"We were totally outplayed, outhustled, outrebounded," Towson coach Pat Kennedy said. "We started out 15-2 [down] on the rebounding end. Sometimes, it's mind-boggling."

The Tigers (4-23) took only six rebounds in a bizarre first half and hit just 8 of 25 shots. They looked as bad as Loyola (14-13) looked good. Loyola gathered 25 rebounds and led by as many as 19 points.

The Greyhounds' lead went to 20 in the first two minutes of the second half, but Towson mustered a comeback of sorts. Led by Isaiah Philmore (20 points) and Braxton Dupree (9 points, 9 rebounds), the Tigers cut the deficit to 10 when walk-on guard Josh Brown stole an inbounds' pass at midcourt and hit a jump shot.

A switch to a 2-3 zone defense and the decision to take the ball into Philmore and Dupree got Towson tentatively back in the game. But the Greyhounds answered with a flurry of 3s to remove any doubt.

Sophomore guard Robert Olson hit two straight threes and, after a follow shot by Dylon Cormier, hit another to stretch the lead to 17 at 63-46.

Then Loyola's junior guard J'hared Hall found the range and hit four straight 3-pointers. Altogether, seven of the Greyhounds last eight baskets were from beyond the arc.

"J'hared was our best player the first three weeks of January," Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos said. "The last two, I didn't know he was on the team."

Hall hit 5-of-8 shots from the arc, Olson 4-of-6 and the Greyhounds were 10-for-22 for the game — after making just 2 of 20 in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference loss to Rider on Wednesday.

"I pay attention to the team's habits," Hall said. "When we lose a game, we get mad and play harder. … We're tougher to play when we lose."

The Greyhounds quickness inside was big in the first half, and their shooting from outside was the difference in the second.

Hall led a balanced offense with 19 points in 21 minutes off the bench. Olson had 16 points, followed by Shane Walker with 14, Erik Etherly with 12 and Cormier with 10.

What no doubt helped Loyola mentally after the tough loss to Rider was the neighborhood rivalry game against a team and players it knew well.

"We're friends with a couple guys on their team," Hall said.

Who, he was asked? "Isaiah, Braxton, and a couple guys on the bench."

"In a neighborhood game, I tell the players that rebounding will be the stat that tells the tale," Patsos said.

He proved clairvoyant: the Greyhounds took 39 rebounds to Towson's 22.

Loyola closes out its MAAC season with a trip to western New York to face Niagara and Canisius. Towson travels to Delaware on Wednesday in search of its first win in the Colonial Athletic Conference, where the Tigers are 0-16.

The losing streak has its own life now for a team that has grown accustomed to losing. How much is it weighing on his players?

"Probably a lot more than I realize," he said. "But the kids have been terrific. They constantly come to work."

ken.murray@baltsun.com

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