NEW ORLEANS, La. - The Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team emerged with an important conference victory Saturday afternoon against Faulkner inside The Den. The Wolfpack won 86-76 and move to 15-9 and 7-7 in the SSAC. Faulkner slides to 12-12 and 5-9 in the SSAC.
Robert Lovaglio, who missed the previous contest with Faulkner due to injury, powered the Wolfpack offense with a double-double, his first since November 29. Lovaglio scored 17 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and dished out two assists. McCall Tomeny joined in on the double-double performance today, recording 17 points and 12 boards as well. This is Tomeny’s third double-double on the season.
Wolfpack senior guard Corey Gray (1,292 career points) is now ranked 12th on the Loyola all-time scoring list after surpassing Gus Reynoir with his 18 point performance today. Gray shot 13-16 from the charity stripe, including four in the final minute of the game.
Loyola had all five starters in double digits. Chris Joseph rounded out the leaders tallying 11 points, three rebounds, three assists, and knocked down seven of nine free throws.
Down 5-0 to start the game, Corey Gray got the ‘Pack on the board with a bucket at the 17 minute mark. Loyola claimed a 12-11 lead with 13:30 left on McCall Tomeny free throws and maintained the advantage heading into the locker room with a 44-34 lead. The Wolfpack shot an impressive 14-26 from the floor in the half.
Cameron Cates helped the Wolfpack outscore the Eagles 18-12 in the paint in the first stanza. The senior scored 11 points in the half and got to the line seven times, converting on five. Cates finished the game with 15 points and four rebounds.
The Wolfpack sustained their double-digit lead most of the second half. Faulkner briefly threatened with five minutes remaining, pulling within seven, but the ‘Pack held on for the win.
Loyola enjoyed a sizable advantage on the free throw line. The ‘Pack converted 22-29 from the line in the second half and shot 74.5% for the game. In addition, Loyola out-rebounded Faulkner 44-31.
“Tonight was a very nice win for our team. It was a must win to stay where we want to be in the conference standings at the end of the season,” explained Loyola head coach Dr. Michael Giorlando. “We played a tough Faulkner team who was coming off a great win against William Carey on Thursday. All five starters had double-digits, so it was a great team victory.”
Faulkner’s Jake Mitchell led the Eagles in scoring with 19 points on 8-15 shooting from the floor and 3-5 from three-point range. Chris Palmore and Lante Phillips also recorded double figures with 17 and 11 points respectively.
The Wolfpack’s conference record has reached .500 for the second time this season and the first since November 19. Loyola has won four of their past five divisional games as they split the two game season series with Faulkner.
The victory was not only a crucial win for the Wolfpack’s SSAC tournament pursuit, but a momentous one in the program’s history. Loyola head coach Dr. Michael Giorlando earned his 100th career victory with the Wolfpack today. He is only the second head coach in Loyola history to do so. Jack Orsley, who coached Loyola from 1939-1949, had 173 wins in his career with the Wolfpack.
Loyola returns to action Thursday night, when they host division leader Belhaven in The Den at 7:30 p.m.
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