NEW ORLEANS, La. - The Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team (10-5) will battle the University of New Orleans (11-8) Saturday afternoon in The Den. Tip-off for the cross-town match-up is scheduled for 1 p.m. CST.
The Wolfpack is coming off of a tough hard fought two-point victory over conference and divisional foe Spring Hill Thursday night. The ‘Pack looks to carry their momentum into the weekend when they square off against UNO for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
Loyola is searching for their first victory against the Privateers, as they are 0-3 lifetime against the squad. The first contest between the two dates back to the 1993-94 season, and this will be Loyola head coach Dr. Michael Giorlando’s first crack against the neighboring team. Giorlando and company are 5-1 this season against schools in New Orleans with season sweeps against Dillard and Xavier and a split with SUNO.
“This will be the first time UNO has ever been on our campus. We’re excited to host the game and hope a lot people come out and back the ‘Pack,” said Dr. Giorlando. “UNO is very athletic and they hit the boards hard. They have some local guys that can shoot the ball well and they’re going to press us hard. Offensively, we have to be patient and try to control the tempo.”
Corey Gray also looks to keep the momentum going Saturday after scoring 23 points in the victory over Spring Hill. The senior guard just needs five points to overtake Bob Bissant for the #17 spot on the Loyola all-time career-scoring list.
Currently, the ‘Pack are averaging 74.3 points per game and shooting 44% from the field and 33.5% from beyond the arc. The team ranks sixth in the NAIA in free throw percentage (.746), 45th in blocks per game (3.067), and 48th in field goal percentage defense (.424).
The Privateers are on a two game win streak after defeating Champion Baptist and Concordia-Selma at home. UNO has found much success at home this season, boasting a 9-2 record, but are a different team on the road, with just two wins in seven tries. With another Wolfpack victory, Loyola can advance to 7-2 in The Den this season.
Junior forward Lovell Cook and senior forward Antonio Wertz average 13.3 and 11.1 points respectively for the Privateers. Cook has started in all 19 games this season, shooting 49.3% from the field and 75% from the free throw line. Wertz leads the team in rebounds, averaging 7.3 a game, and total blocks, with 19.
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