(New Orleans, La.) Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team will return to the hardwood on Saturday, February 1st at 4 p.m. as they take Bethel University at Baker Gymnasium in McKenzie, Tennessee.
Loyola (4-14, 3-8) is coming off an 86-71 loss to Spring Hill College in their previous game. The Wolf Pack used a pressing defense in the second half after falling down by 25, they made a furious run as they were able to cut the lead to only nine points, but the Badgers converted enough free throws to stave off the rally. Daniel Kuhl led the Pack in scoring for the third consecutive game when he scored 14. Kyle Simmons and Aleksander Matoski each added 10.
Bethel (14-7, 5-5) will be looking to improve on their modest two game winning streak. They started the streak with an 82-74 win over Spring Hill before following it with an 83-61 road victory over Blue Mountain. In the victory over Blue Mountain, the Wildcats received 69 of their 83 points from the starting lineup. Walt Andrews led the way with 23 points in only 22 minutes of action as he made 11 of 15 shots. Mark Vaughn scored 11, but pulled down a team high nine rebounds in the win.
The Wolf Pack are led by 17.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game from McCall Tomeny. Simmons notches 10.9 points and a team high 2.9 assists per game. Kuhl leads the Pack with 1.4 steals per tilt while ranking 15th in the NAIA in free throw percentage at 85.7%. The team is 33rd in the country in both scoring defense, allowing 71.6 points per game, and three point field goal percentage defense (32.7% allowed).
Gary Pollard leads Bethel in scoring this season with 15.1 points per game. Andrews averages 13.9 points and 6.5 rebounds. He is outdone on the glass by Marcus Bowins’ average of 6.9 rebounds. Cole Nelson ranks 3rd in the NAIA in assists with 129 and 4th in assists per game with an average of 6.45. He helps lead the team to the third most assists per game in the country (18.75) while also topping the third ranked team in steals (12.4 spg) with 1.55 of his own.
The Wildcats and Wolf Pack have not faced off since the “new era” of Wolf Pack athletics began in 1992. This is Bethel’s first season as members of the Southern States Athletic Conference. They are currently in fourth place in the western division, 2.5 games ahead of 7th place Loyola.
You can find live stats of the game at http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Team/TeamPage.aspx?association=10&sg=MBB&sea=NAIMBB_2013&team=409.