Rome, Ga.- Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team fell to Southern Poly 62-55 Friday evening in the semifinals of the Southern States Athletic Conference basketball tournament.
The Wolfpack led much of the first half as Corey Gray’s three pointer two minutes into the game gave Loyola a 5-4 lead. A lay-in by Ryan Brock and a three pointer by Tommy Stangl extended the Wolfpack margin to 10-4 at the 16:24 mark.
Later in the period, Loyola enjoyed their largest advantage of the contest, seven points, with a jumper by Gray. Nick McDaniel hit a three for SPSU, but Gray converted on one of his four triples in the game with 11:36 left in the half to make it 19-12.
Southern Poly whittled away the difference, finally taking a 26-25 lead on a three point play by Darrien Beacham with 2:07 left in the half. After a Richard Kohnke free throw to tie the game for the third time, Kurtis Woods gave the Hornets a 28-26 lead that they would take into the break.
The second half was a hotly contested period with neither team enjoying a lead of more than five points until the last minute of the half. Brock tied the score for the last time with a pair of free throws with 4:31 to play. Poly outscored Loyola 13-6 over the final minutes, converting 6 of 8 free throws in the last 53 seconds to hold off the Wolfpack for the win.
Gray led the Wolfpack (16-14) with 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting from the field and 4 of 9 from behind the arc. Brock added 16 points on the evening. The senior, who prepped at Brother Martin, finished his career as the second leading scorer in Loyola history.
Brent Jennings was the only player in double figures for Southern Poly (23-8). He finished with 27 points and grabbed a game high nine rebounds. SPSU will play Emmanuel in the SSAC finals on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
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