Loyola hounds Towson 65-53
Coming off its first two-game winning streak since the 2009-10 season, Towson dropped the 71st all-time meeting against cross-town rival Loyola Monday night 65-53.
The Greyhounds, (6-1) scored 17 points off of 15 forced turnovers against the Tigers (3-3) to expand their series lead to 44-27, including a two-game winning streak against the Tigers. Loyola won last year’s meeting 75-57 at Towson.
“[Loyola’s] experience and their cohesiveness showed,” Head Coach Pat Skerry said. “I think we were excited to play but clearly not sharp on the offensive end of the floor and they made us pay for that. Hats off to them.”
Several players were impaired during the game.
Towson’s leading scorer on the season, junior forward Jerrelle Benimon, finished the game with seven points while battling flu-like symptoms.
Junior forward Marcus Damas had to be carried off the court with seconds remaining in the second half after falling hard on the court trying to start a fast break. Skerry said that Damas has a possible concussion.
Preseason Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year and All-MAAC First Team member Erik Etherly did not play for the Greyhounds after suffering a shoulder injury last Friday in a 58-54 overtime win over Rhode Island.
Etherly is averaging 15.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game on the season.
Loyola used a full-court press to disrupt Towson’s rhythm offensively.
“We watched tape on them. No one pressed them, they just walked the ball up the court,” Loyola guard Dylon Cormier, who led the Greyhounds with 19 points said. “We just wanted to show them something new and it helped us out.”
After a back-and-forth start to the game, which saw Towson take an early 4-0 advantage after a layup and steal to start the game, the Greyhounds took a 27-18 lead with 4:10 remaining in the first half after Loyola guard Robert Olson hit his fourth three pointer of the half.
Olson finished the game with 15 points on 5-17 shooting. All of his field goals were three pointers.
The Greyhounds continuously screened Olson at the top of the key, which gave him the space to knock down the threes.
Both teams would continue to exchange baskets for the remainder of the half, and Loyola took a 36-26 lead into the half.
The Tigers cut the lead to six to start the second half, but for the fifth time that night it was Olson to the rescue.
Coming out of a 30 second timeout, Olson drained his fifth three of the game to expand the lead back to nine.
Towson failed to respond on its next possession and turned the ball over for the third time in the half. The Tigers committed 10 of their 15 turnovers in the second half.
Loyola would eventually expand its lead to 17 before Towson made one last push to get back in the game.
The Tigers got to within 10 with 3:12 remaining in the game, but it was too little too late.
Neither team shot particularly well from the field.
Loyola shot 34.8 percent from the floor and Towson only shot 32.1 percent.
The Tigers’ shooting percentage and turnovers were not the only things wrong with the offense.
Towson had only four assists for the entire game.
“We moved the ball really well in practice,” Skerry said. “It’s been somewhat mind boggling in games. I think we have guys that want to make plays, which the intentions are good but the results certainly aren’t. Until we learn to hit singles instead of home runs, we’ll struggle against good clubs.”
Freshman point guard Jerome Hairston, who led the Tigers with 13 points, acknowledged the Greyhounds’ experience from last year’s NCAA tournament as a key to them winning the game.
“We came out in the game and we were anxious,” he said. “We went about it in a way that we were newcomers. You could tell who was the more experienced team tonight. We went about it as rookies.”
The Tigers have another cross-town rival on their paws next, traveling to UMBC Saturday.
Tip off is set for 7 p.m.