(New Orleans, La.) Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team will begin the new year with a contest against Southern University New Orleans at 2 p.m. on Thursday, January 2nd at The Castle.
This will be the second matchup of the season between Loyola and SUNO. The teams met on November 26th at The Den as SUNO came away with a 58-41 victory. SUNO jumped out to a 21-6 lead in the first 11 minutes as Broc Willis and Merlin Walker each scored five in the rush. Loyola made a second half run to cut the Knight’s lead to six, however SUNO scored 12 straight points to clinch the win. McCall Tomeny recorded a double double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Aleksander Matoski had eight points while Mason Ibert had two blocks and three steals for the Pack. SUNO was led by 15 points from Willis. Kevin Dukes tallied 13 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals. Joe Brown had three blocks while LaShawn Gallion posted eight rebounds.
Loyola (3-7) enters the game on a four match losing streak which began with the defeat to SUNO. Tomeny is leading the team with averages of 18.4 points and 9.3 rebounds. Jalen Gray, who is coming off a career high 16 point game in Loyola’s 72-59 loss to Dillard, bests the squad with 2.5 assists per game. Ibert and Gray each have 10 steals this year while Nate Pierre and Rocco Gandara have seven blocks apiece.
SUNO (7-4) was receiving votes in the latest NAIA poll. The Knights have won five of their last six games all of which have come against members of the SSAC. Their last contest was a 67-62 win over Spring Hill College. Dukes leads the team with 15.9 points and 5.3 assists per tilt, he is one of four players scoring in double figures for the Knights. Brown paces the squad with 8.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.
SUNO and Loyola have played 34 times and Loyola has been victorious 16 times. SUNO has three straight wins in the series. This is the last non-conference game of the season for Loyola who will continue conference play with a road trip to Emmanuel and Southern Wesleyan on January 10th and 11th.