NEW ORLEANS, La. - On the night Loyola University New Orleans hosted their Annual Cancer Awareness Game benefiting the Play 4Kay Charity and the Coaches vs. Cancer Program, the men’s basketball squad defeated division leader Belhaven 74-70. The Wolfpack move to 16-9 overall and 8-7 in SSAC play, while the Blazers fall to 14-13 and 9-7 in conference play.
Loyola’s SSAC record jumps to above .500 for the first time this season. The ‘Pack has won four of their past five conference games and improve their home record to 11-2.
Robert Lovaglio led the team with his 20 points on 9-11 shooting from the field. The sophomore also recorded six rebounds, three assists, and one steal.
Cameron Cates achieved a career high 5 blocks and six assists tonight in a great defensive effort from the senior center. Cates scored 12 points and grabbed eight boards.
Chris Joseph and McCall Tomeny added double-digit performances towards the Wolfpack victory as well. Joseph notched 14 points on 50% shooting and Tomeny added 13 points and eight rebounds.
Belhaven shot out of the gate first, nabbing a 10-4 lead in the first five minutes of play. Back to back dunks by Cameron Cates sparked a Wolfpack 11-0 run as they claimed a 15-10 advantage with 11 minutes left in the period. The ‘Pack maintained a lead no greater than six for the remainder of the half, as they took a 32-29 lead into the locker room.
The Blazers fought back in the second half, tying the game at 48 all at the 12 minute mark. The Wolfpack then battled back with three straight three-pointers by Joseph, Dylan Kremer, and Cameron Cates, igniting a 15-4 run to stretch the lead to 63-52.
Belhaven cut Loyola’s lead to two points with 1:50 remaining in the game and again at 21 seconds.
However, the third best team in free throw shooting in the NAIA proved ever resilient, as the ‘Pack got contributions from Lovaglio, Cates, and Gray from the line to stave off the Blazers comeback and claim victory.
Loyola shot 55.4% from the field, including an impressive 17-25 in the second half.
“We were down early, but kept our composure and were able to regain the lead. Give Belhaven credit, they fought to the very end,” said Loyola head coach Dr. Michael Giorlando. “We were able to execute our plan to get inside and take high percentage shots and our guys were able to convert. I’m proud of Dylan Kremer and his effort tonight. He has been working hard to get back on the floor after an injury and made some nice plays for us.”
Woodie Howard led the Blazers with 28 points and eight rebounds. Brittion Smith also contributed double figures with 16 points
The Wolfpack return to action this Saturday at 4:00 p.m., when they take on Auburn-Montgomery inside the Physical Education Complex.
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