(Marietta, Ga.) Robert Lovaglio had a game high 27 points as Loyola University New Orleans defeated #6 Southern Polytechnic State University 80-67 in men’s basketball Saturday evening in the Hornets Nest.
Poly enjoyed their last lead of the contest when Chase Robinson converted a three point play with 2:33 left in the first half. Loyola answered with a 9-0 run starting with a three pointer by Kyle Simmons at the 1:47 mark and culminating with a pair of free throws by McCall Tomeny with 17 seconds remaining in the half. Loyola took a eight point, 33-25, lead to the locker room. It was the largest lead for either team in the first period.
In the second half, the Pack margin grew to 10 points with a pair of free throws by Steve Davis with 19:36 remaining. The Hornets responded cutting the Loyola advantage to four points on two occasions. The last came at 16:45 with a three pointer by CJ McElrath. LU scored 11 unanswered and held a double digit advantage the rest of the way en route to the victory.
“I was very proud of our team’s ability to bounce back after last night’s game. Southern Poly is a very strong club, and I knew our bench would be an important factor tonight. I thought Aleksandar Matoski and Rocco Gandara played particularly well for us off the bench,” said Loyola head coach Dr. Michael Giorlando.
Lovaglio converted 7 of 19 from the field and 11 of 12 from the free throw line. It was the sixth time this season that he scored 20 or more points in a game. Tomeny added 20 points and Aleksandar Matoski came off the bench to grab a career high 10 rebounds.
For Poly (4-5, 1-3 SSAC), Robinson came off the bench to lead the Hornets. He had 14 points on 6 of 17 shooting from the field. McElrath added 13 points and Kee Martavis contributed 12 to round out the leaders for the Hornets. SPSU is ranked sixth in the NAIA preseason poll.
The Wolf Pack shot 42.9% from the field and 40.9% from behind the arc. They held the Hornets to a 39.1% clip from the field and 24.0% from distance. Loyola outrebounded SPSU 49-31.
The Pack (6-3, 3-1 SSAC) will travel across town on Wednesday to face off against Xavier University. Tip off is slated for 7:30 p.m.
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