Loyola men’s hoops prepares for conference home opener

Thu, 11/21/2013

Kyle Simmons and the Pack open their home conference slate

(New Orleans, La.) The Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team will open their home slate of the SSAC season with back to back games this weekend in The Den. The Pack will play College of Coastal Georgia on Friday, November 22nd at 7:30 p.m. followed by a 5 p.m. game against Southern Polytechnic State University on Saturday, November 23rd.

Loyola (1-3, 0-2 SSAC) enters the conference games on the back of a 74-70 upset victory over #19 Xavier University of Louisiana on Tuesday evening. Loyola received 15 points apiece from Kyle Simmons and Mason Ibert along with 14 from Jalen Gray and 11 from Cameron Hill to propel them to victory. The Pack shot 47.2% from the field and hit eight threes to score the road win.

Simmons leads the team in scoring with a 10.5 average so far this season. Aleksander Matoski paces the Pack on the boards averaging 4.8 per tilt while Daniel Kuhl holds the team lead with 3.0 assists per game. Nate Pierre, coming off a three block game is tied for the team lead with Roco Gandara at 1.0 blocks a night. Loyola’s main strength has come defensively where they are holding opponents to 40.7% shooting and only 30% from behind the 3 point line.

On Friday, the squad will face off with Coastal Georgia (5-2, 1-1 SSAC) who split their conference opening games this past weekend. They defeated Mobile 102-92 before falling to Belhaven 68-79. Reggie Burke had 40 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in the Mariners’ win over Mobile. Kentorey Johnson scored 27 against Mobile and piled in 15 more against Belhaven.

The last time these squads met was in the opening round of the SSAC tournament last year. The Pack pulled away in the second half for a 99-72 victory thanks to 40 points and 14 rebounds from McCall Tomeny. Robert Lovaglio had 25 points on five three pointers to help the Pack advance. Burke scored 24 and PJ Reason had 19 for the Mariners.

Burke leads the Mariners with an average of 16.7 points, 5 assists, and 2.4 steals per game. PJ Reason is scoring 16.3 points per night. Johnson is averaging 16 with a team best 8.4 rebounds per night.
The Pack will continue their homestand on Saturday against Southern Poly (2-3, 0-2). The Hornets enter the matchup with a three game losing streak after falling in their conference opening games against Blue Mountain and William Carey.

Loyola defeated Southern Poly 80-67 when these teams met on December 1st of last season. Lovaglio scored 27 and Tomeny poured in 20 for the visiting Pack. Chase Robinson had 14, CJ McElrath scored 13, and Martavis Kee had 12 as Southern Poly fell behind in the first half and never recovered.

This year, Marcus Dortch leads the team in scoring with an average of 18.6. McElrath is second in the squad with a 14.6 points per contest. Chris Key is adding 11 points to go along with a team best 7 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. Evyn Smith is leading the team with 3 assists a tilt.

Also during lunch on Friday, Wolf Pack players and coaches will be in the Orleans Room for the “Eat Your Opponent Promotion” sponsored by Uptown Campus Dining to hand out magnetic basketball schedules for the 2013-14 season. The traditional Catfish Friday lunch menu will feature fare highlighting Friday night’s opponent, the Coastal Georgia Mariners.

The Loyola women’s team will precede the men’s contests this weekend as they will play at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday against Coastal Georgia and Southern Poly respectively.

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