(Montgomery, Ala.) Loyola University New Orleans fell 60-55 to 13th ranked Faulkner University to open SSAC play on Friday evening at Tine W. Davis Gymnasium in Montgomery, Alabama.
With the score tied at 55, Anthony Johnson stole the ball allowing Ayo Madamidola a fastbreak layup to put the Eagles up two. However the Pack had three opportunities to tie the ball game late, but Jalen Gray missed a shot with 39 seconds remaining. Stephen Strachan rebounded but hit only one of two foul shots leaving the Pack a chance. Daniel Kuhl missed two threes in the last 10 seconds getting a second opportunity after an opportunistic rebound by Kyle Simmons. Madamidola got the rebound off the second miss and converted two free throws to provide the final margin.
The teams played a back and forth contest with neither team holding a double digit lead at any point of the game. Faulkner took an 8 point advantage with 2:18 remaining in the first half thanks to five straight points from Cortez Riley. Jalen Gray hit a three with 24 seconds left in the half to make the halftime deficit 32-27.
Gray and Simmons each scored 12 points to lead the Pack offense. Aleksander Matoski also reached double figures as he scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds. Roco Gandara pulled down a team high six boards. Nate Pierre contributed nine points and four rebounds off the bench for the Pack. Kuhl led the team with three assists.
Loyola prevented the Eagles (4-0, 1-0) from having a double digit scorer. Riley, Strachan, and Nick Waters each scored nine points. Johnson and Riley tied for a team best seven rebounds while six different Eagles each tallied an assist.
The Pack (0-2, 0-1) outshot Faulkner 37.7% to 32.7% and hit more threes than the Eagles. However, they were unable to overcome 18 turnovers and a 28-15 deficit in foul shots.
The Loyola men’s basketball team will be back in action on Saturday, November 16th as they take on Auburn University at Montgomery at 5 p.m. at AUM Physical Education Complex.