G.G. Smith looking for energy as Loyola men's basketball hits road

Greyhounds face Patriot League leader Boston University on Monday

January 16, 2014|By Edward Lee | The Baltimore Sun

The Loyola men's basketball team has reasserted itself into the hunt for the Patriot League regular-season title with back-to-back wins against Lehigh on Saturday and Lafayette on Monday. With a 3-2 record in the conference, the team sits in fifth place in the standings.

The Greyhounds (8-8 overall) are 5-2 at Reitz Arena, including 3-0 against Patriot League foes, but they are winless in two road games in the conference. Coach G.G. Smith knows that record is going to have to change as the team prepares to visit Boston University on Monday and Bucknell on Wednesday.

“One of my mottos is positive energy, positive attitude, and we need that energy level going into the next two games at BU and at Bucknell in three days,” Smith said Wednesday. “We have to be positive, and we have to be road warriors.”

The next two games figure to be an arduous stretch. The Terriers (11-6) are tied with American (8-7) and Army (8-7) for first place in the Patriot League with 4-0 conference marks. Bucknell (8-7), the reigning regular-season and tournament champion, is in fourth place with a 3-1 record in the conference.

Smith is hopeful that the past two victories will give Loyola some much-needed momentum against Boston.

“It’s great – especially when you don’t play for a week – to sit back on a win rather than a loss,” he said. "But like I told the guys, we can’t be stagnant. We have a big game against BU. … We’ve got to keep improving every day and we’ve got to keep this energy going, and that will definitely help us rolling in the year.”

A win against the Terriers would give the Greyhounds their first three-game winning streak since opening the season with four straight victories. Perhaps more importantly, a positive result would further burnish their resume for the league crown. But Smith said he doesn’t intend to add any more emphasis to Monday’s contest than he would for any other game.

“We’re just going at it one game at a time no matter where they are [in the conference standings],” he said. “We played Lafayette and they were 0-4 in the conference, but they were picked second in our league. I know they’ve got one of their best guys hurt, but they’re still a good team. We don’t look at where they are in the standings. We’ve just got to understand that we have to try to steal one on the road. We’ve got to go out there on the road and be ready to play. … We won’t try to do anything different. We’ll do what we do and hopefully, we’ll come out on top.”

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