MOBILE, Ala. – The Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team put together a late rally in their Southern States Athletic Conference opener against Jesuit-rival Spring Hill on Thursday night, but the Badgers would hold on for a 63-58 victory at the Outlaw Center.
Loyola (7-7, 0-1), who had won their last two conference openers, was up 28-25 at the break but could never get the offense going as Spring Hill (6-6, 1-0) led by as much as 13 in the second half. Trailing by five with less than a minute left, LU got a three from Corey Gray to make the score 60-58.
Spring Hill, who struggled from the line for the night at 52 percent, pushed the lead back to three after converting on one of two free throws. On the ensuing possession with 10 seconds remaining, Loyola’s Robert Lovaglio put up a three but was off the mark, and the Badgers added two more free throws down the stretch to take the conference opener.
Loyola’s Ryan Brock led all scorers with 17 points. Lovaglio came off the bench for 12 points and Richard Kohnke chipped in with nine. Brock, who was recently named National Jesuit Player of the Week, also dished out four of Loyola’s 13 assists.
The Wolfpack offense had troubles all night, shooting 37 percent (23 of 62) from the field, 20 percent (5 of 25) from three, and 54 percent (7 of 13) at the line.
Although Spring Hill shot poorly from the line and behind the arc (2 of 10) as well, the Badgers finished the night shooting 51 percent (25 of 49). SHC had a 36-35 rebounding edge in part to Nick Brown’s game-high of 12. Lovaglio led the Maroon and Gold with five.
Loyola will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 15, when the head to The Barn to take on No. 13 Xavier University. The game will follow the women’s matchup with an approximate 7 p.m. tipoff.