ROME, Ga. - Corey Gray hit a pair of free throws with five seconds on the clock to ice the game for Loyola, as the Wolfpack defeated Brewton-Parker College in the SSAC Tournament, 66-64.
Gray scored a game-high 28 points for the Wolfpack (15-13, 6-6 SSAC), which advanced in the tournament and will face the top seed out of the East, Lee University. Andrew Dikas had 24 points and eight rebounds to lead the Barons (10-15, 4-8 SSAC).
Seniors Richard Kohnke and Darrinton Moncrieffe led the Wolfpack with eight rebounds each, while Moncrieffe blocked seven Baron shots. Ryan Brock added 20 points for the 'Pack.
Loyola raced out to an early lead, earning a 14-7 advantage with 11 minutes to go in the first half. The Wolfpack continued to hold onto the lead for the rest of the half, thanks in part to Gray's 4-for-6 shooting from three-point range in the half. LU closed out the half on a 16-7 run, as the 'Pack got eight points from Gray, four from Brock and four from Kohnke during that stretch. Loyola took a 36-24 lead heading into halftime.
BPC started out hot coming out of the break, going on a 9-0 run to cut the Wolfpack's lead to three. Brock then hit back-to-back shots to keep Loyola in control. As BPC tried to mount another comeback attempt, Gray hit a jumper and on the next possession hit one of his six three-pointers to bring the lead back to seven.
The Barons kept chipping away at the lead and finally tied the game for the first time since the game's first minute, when DeMario Black scored to tie the game at 53 with 7:35 on the clock. Loyola responded by Gray hitting another three, giving the 'Pack the lead, which it would keep for the rest of the game.
Down four with 1:17 remaining, Dikas hit 1-of-2 free throws to make it a one-possession game. Loyola ran 30 seconds off the clock, but missed its field goal attempt, giving BPC a last chance at tying the game. Instead, Moncrieffe blocked his seventh shot of the game and the Barons settled for cutting the lead to one. After Chris Joseph hit a pair of free throws, BPC missed a three and quickly fouled Gray, who extended the lead to five with five seconds on the clock. A last-second three-pointer from Brewton-Parker cut the lead to two, but Loyola was able to run out the clock to seal the victory.
“It was a great team win with nice play from our bench. We knew Brewton-Parker was going to come out hard in the second half and I was proud of the way we finished in the last two minutes,” head coach Dr. Michael Giorlando said after the game.
In LU’s final regular season game, Brock became the second-leading scorer on Loyola’s all-time career scoring list. He currently has 1669 points and is 163 points behind career leader Brian Lumar.
Loyola's second-round game against Lee will be played on Wednesday, March 2 at 4 p.m. Eastern time in The Forum in Rome, Ga. Live stats can be accessed through the Loyola Wolfpack Athletics website.
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