(New Orleans, La.) Robert Lovaglio scored the last eight Wolf Pack points, including a three point play to bring Loyola within a point, but Southern Wesleyan converted 5 of 6 free throws in the last 18 seconds to earn a 90-86 victory over Loyola Saturday night in The Den.
Southern Wesleyan started the game on a 14-2 run as Rochard Gibson hit two threes in the first three minutes. Loyola was able to claw back into the game as McCall Tomeny scored 15 of his 25 points in the first half to cut the halftime deficit to four. Holmes came off the bench to score 11 of his 21 points in the first half.
The Warriors pushed their lead back to 10 within a minute of the start of the second half when Gibson made back to back three point shots again. However, Daniel Kuhl came down and hit two consecutive three point shots of his own to bring the Wolf Pack deficit back down to four.
The Wolf Pack had great contributions from a number of players as Lovaglio finished with 24. Kuhl and Simmons both scored 11, with Simmons also dishing out 10 assists.
Nikola Lambic was the story of the second half for Southern Wesleyan as he tallied 20 of his 26 points in the frame and hit three of four free throws in the last minute to seal the game for the Warriors.
“This was a very disappointing loss. We got off to a poor start and struggled at times in the second half. We battled to get it close, but we just couldn’t get over the hump. We used a lot of energy in the rally to cut it down to two. I was proud of our effort and the way we stayed the course,” said Loyola Head Coach Dr. Michael Giorlando. “Give Southern Wesleyan credit, they hit big shots and that’s how you win on the road. We’ll take tomorrow off and come back Monday focused on Carey next week.”
Loyola (9-6, 4-2) shot 56% from the field and hit nine threes in the game, but their defense could not hold Southern Wesleyan (6-6, 2-4) below 55% shooting. The Wolf Pack was also outrebounded 37 to 26. The Wolf Pack converted only 57% from the free throw line.
Loyola will be back in action at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 10th when they host William Carey at The Den. The Crusaders are ranked 10th in the latest NAIA men’s basketball poll.
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