Rome, Ga. – In the SSAC Tournament Quarterfinal match-up between Loyola University New Orleans and Emmanuel College, the Wolfpack beat the Lions 84-75 at Darlington School. The Wolfpack move to 20-9 on the season as the Lions finish at 18-14.
Corey Gray paved the way with his team high 24 points and eight rebounds. The senior shot 6-12 from the field, 2-4 from three-point range, and 10-13 from the free throw line. Gray passed Sam Trombatore (1,360) on the Loyola all-time career-scoring list, as he moved into the ten spot with 1,369 points. Furthermore, Gray is now ranked 12th on Loyola’s single season points list with 513.
McCall Tomeny, Kyle Simmons, and Robert Lovaglio also registered double-digit performances. Tomeny grabbed six boards along with his 14 points on a perfect 6-6 day from the field. Simmons tied his career high of 11 points on a perfect 3-3 day from the field. Finally, Lovaglio tallied 11 points, shooting 3-4 from the floor and 5-8 from the line.
Cameron Cates kicked off the game with a free throw and a bucket to tie the game at five two minutes in. However, Loyola’s third leading scorer picked up his second foul with 16 minutes left in the first half, sending him to the bench for the remainder of the period.
Emmanuel jumped out to a 10-5 lead, starting the game 4-4 from the field. Steve Davis made the most of his opportunity in Cates’s absence, immediately scoring a put-back at the 14-minute mark to cut the lead to 15-12. Davis finished the half with six points.
Loyola gained the first lead of the game since the opening minute at the 7:17 mark, when Tomeny connected on a basket to give the ‘Pack a 24-23 lead.
Three more lead changes occurred over the final six minutes, as the ‘Pack took a 35-32 lead into halftime.
Loyola and Emmanuel saw a reversal of roles from the free throw line in the first half. The Wolfpack, the second best free throw shooting team (.743) in the NAIA, struggled from the charity stripe, shooting 10-18; meanwhile, the Lions connected on a perfect 9-9.
Yet, the ‘Pack shot more efficiently in the first stanza. Loyola shot 60% from the field compared to Emmanuel’s 35.71%.
Loyola came out of the locker room energized, as they opened the second half with a 12-4 run over the first four minutes, that culminated with a Cameron Cates dunk to take a 47-36 lead.
A technical was called on Emmanuel’s bench at the 15:46 mark. After two successful Gray free throws, the Wolfpack went on to take a 19-point lead lead, their largest of the game, on a field goal by Tomeny with 9:24 remaining.
However, the Lions fought back, producing an 18-4 run over the next five minutes, as they cut the lead to 68-63.
With the Lions threatening, Kyle Simmons knocked down a huge three-point shot to extend the lead to eight. Simmons went on to produce five more points in the final four minutes.
The Lions cut the deficit to 76-70 with one minute remaining. Nevertheless, three Gray free throws combined with buckets by Simmons and Joseph put the game out of reach, as the ‘Pack emerged victorious 84-75.
Asmatiek Fields and Jeremy Burgess led the way for the Lions with 24 and 23 points respectively. Fields shot an impressive 12-14 from the free throw line, and Burgess went 7-14 from the field, 3-4 from beyond the arc, and 6-6 from the line.
Loyola head coach Dr. Michael Giorlando earned his first 20-win season with today’s victory. It is the Wolfpack’s first 20-win season since the 1947-48 squad.
The Wolfpack will clash with Belhaven on Friday inside The Forum at 3 p.m. CST. The Blazers (#3 West) defeated Southern Poly (#2 East) 71-69. It will be the ‘Pack’s third match-up against the Blazers this season, with each team winning their respective home game against the other. The Wolfpack fell 82-89 on Jan. 21, then triumphed 74-70 on Feb. 16.
You can listen live to the game at: http://www.livestream.com/loyolawolfpack
You can follow the live stats at: http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Webcasts.aspx?association=10
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