Loyola gets better of the rebound battle, beats Coppin, 78-68

Greyhounds have nearly twice as many rebounds

Gallo leads Eagles with 23 points

November 15, 2011|By Rich Scherr, Special to The Baltimore Sun

On paper, there's little separating Loyola and Coppin State this season, with both sporting the kind of talent and depth that make them contenders for conference titles.

Squaring off Monday in a highly anticipated early-season matchup, however, the Greyhounds showed how a little dirty work under the basket can make all the difference.

Loyola outrebounded Coppin by nearly a 2-1 margin, grabbing 18 offensive boards in a 78-68 win at Reitz Arena.

“I thought our guys worked hard for the offensive rebounds,” Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos said. “Our guards got some big ones. They're big because the way we run continuity offense. … When you get the ball back, you're going to make them play defense for 20 or 30 seconds.”

After Loyola led by as many as 13 points midway through the second half, Coppin ratcheted up its intensity on defense and rallied to within four on Michael Murray's steal and layup with just over a minute left.

The Greyhounds (1-1), however, then held the Eagles (1-1) scoreless for the final 53.1 seconds while securing control at the foul line. All told, Loyola outscored Coppin 17-0 on second-chance baskets.

“I don't know if it was the determining factor … but it surely makes a difference,” Coppin coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell said. “Even with all that, down the stretch we were outrebounded, we were outhustled.”

Loyola held a 47-25 advantage on the boards, including a game-high 11 rebounds for forward Erik Etherly. Guard Dylon Cormier scored 20 points to lead five players in double figures for the Greyhounds.

Coppin, picked third in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, got a game-high 23points from guard Tony Gallo but just six after halftime. Coppin, which plays its next three games at Oklahoma, Connecticut and Purdue, ran into foul trouble early in the second half, sending Loyola to the line 21times after the break.

After the teams traded leads 11 times in the first half, Loyola — picked to finish third in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference — took control by opening the second half with a 10-1run, with Shane Walker's putback putting the Greyhounds up 41-33.

“In the second half, I think we just locked down — just not allowing them to get the easy shots,” Cormier said. “Last year we really didn't do well the first four minutes [after halftime], so Jimmy has stressed the first four minutes. Everything in practice is first four.”

The Greyhounds started quickly in this one. Down 2-0, they scored 10 straight points during a three-minute spurt punctuated by 3-pointers by Walker and Cormier.

As was the case throughout the first half, however, each time Loyola made a run, Coppin answered.

Down, 10-2, the Eagles scored nine of the next 11, taking a 13-12 lead on Gallo's fastbreak layup.

Gallo scored 15 points during a torrid nine-minute stretch, nailing three three-pointers along the way, the last giving Coppin a 27-23 lead.

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