New Orleans, La.- Junior guard Corey Gray scored a career-high 34 points and grabbed five rebounds, as Loyola University New Orleans overcame a late deficit to beat Faulkner University, 80-77.
Gray went 8-for-10 from behind the three-point line, leading the team to a 12-for-20 shooting night from three.
“Tonight, was a hard fought battle between two teams that were trying to get a win,” head coach Dr. Michael Giorlando said.
In the first half, Loyola scored the first nine points of the contest with Darrinton Moncrieffe putting the Wolfpack on the board in the opening moments. Gray capped the run with a three pointer at the
Faulkner responded with seven unanswered over a 90 second span as Decorey Jones pulled the Eagles to one possession, 9-7.
Later, Jones scored six straight points for Faulkner, giving them their first lead of the contest with 9:55 remaining in the half.
Loyola answered, tying the game on three occasions before Tommy Stangl gave Loyola a 28-26 lead with a deep ball at the 5:34 mark.
Jake Mitchell responded with a three pointer of his own as the Eagles retook the lead. The margin later grew to nine points on a jumper by Birama Konate with 1:13. The half ended with Faulkner leading 41-35.
Coming out of the half, Loyola started out on fire, going on a 20-8 run and hitting six consecutive field goals to take a 58-49 lead. During the streak, the ’Pack connected on 4-of-5 three-point attempts.
The Eagles responded with a run of their own, outscoring LU 22-6 to take a 72-65 lead. From there, the Wolfpack took control, led by Gray. Over the final 4:49, Gray scored 14 points on 3-for-3 shooting from three, sparking a 15-5 Loyola run to finish the game.
“We're very fortunate to make our free throws down the stretch. I thought our defense really stepped up on the last three possessions to give us a chance to win,” Giorlando said.
Robert Lovaglio grabbed seven rebounds to lead Loyola on the boards. The freshman from Winter Park, Fla. also put up 16 points and added five assists in the winning effort.
LU next takes the court on Saturday in a home conference matchup against Belhaven University. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. at The Den.