NEW ORLEANS, La. - The Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team emerged victorious over the visiting Privateers from the University of New Orleans. The Wolfpack won 85-79 and move to 11-5 on the season, on the day the 20th Anniversary team was honored at halftime.
“I’m real proud of our guys especially down the stretch. We were down double digits and overcame the margin to get the victory. Our defense was the difference down the stretch. I thought we received a total team effort with quality minutes coming off the bench. Corey Gray had one of the best performances of his career on an afternoon that we had many former players in the gym,” said Loyola head coach Dr. Michael Giorlando.
In the first half, UNO’s high pressure defense disrupted the Wolfpack’s attack, as the Privateers scored 17 points off of turnovers. UNO’s bench also provided an advantage in the opening period as the reserved registered 20 points in the first half. Down 38-32 with less than a minute to go till halftime, the ‘Pack closed the gap, as Tomeny and Cates delivered a 5-0 run to head into the locker room down one.
The Privateers remained in control much of the second half, shooting 51.5% from the floor in the period. With just seven minutes remaining, Loyola found themselves in their biggest hole of the game, down 11 points going into the eight minute media timeout.
Coming out of the break, the ‘Pack produced a 21-4 run in which Corey Gray scored 12 points in that span. With the score 82-76 with just a minute remaining, UNO’s Brandon Knight threatened the Loyola comeback with a trey to cut the lead to three. However, Cameron Cates connected on two clutch free throws, followed by a Loyola defenive stand, and another free throw by Simmons to ice the game and earn the victory.
Gray ended the game with 33 points, one shy of his career high. The senior guard shot 10-20 from the field, 5-11 from three-point range, and 8-9 from the line. Gray now has a combined 56 points in two games this week, as he also moved to the #17 spot on the all-time career scoring list (1,146 points), passing Bob Bissant.
McCall Tomeny led the team with 13 rebounds, scoring 18 points along the way. The freshman earned his second double-double in a span of three games. Cameron Cates also contributed double figures with 16 points. Cates shot 7-10 from the floor and grabbed seven rebounds.
Loyola shot an impressive 63% from the field and 57.1% from beyond the arc in the second half. For the game, the ‘Pack outscored UNO 40-24 in the paint. Giorlando and company earned the program’s first win over the neighboring Privateers.
Four players recorded double-digit points for the Privateers. Antonio Wertz tallied 12 points, Lovell Cook scored 16, Generra Barmall recorded 12, and Antonio Holmes scored 10.
Loyola returns to action January 19, when they travel to Montgomery, Alabama, to take on Faulkner at 7:30 p.m.
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