Marietta, Ga. – The Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball fell short of knocking off #13 Southern Poly. The Wolfpack lost 79-83 inside Athletic Gymnasium, thus splitting the two game road trip. Loyola drops to 9-5 on the season and 2-4 in SSAC play.
Corey Gray and McCall Tomeny started strong for the Wolfpack. The duo scored the team’s first 22 points, as they powered Loyola to a 22-15 lead midway through the first half. When the duo rested on the bench, senior Chris Joseph stepped in and delivered two three-pointers and two free throws, helping Loyola take a 33-29 lead into half. The ‘Pack’s defense stifled the Hornet’s deep threat, as Southern Poly shot just 2-11 from beyond the arc in the first half.
Tomeny continued to surge in the second half, scoring the first seven of 11 points for the ‘Pack. The freshman finished with a career high 28 points, went a perfect 3-3 from beyond the arc, shot 11-13 from the floor, and grabbed 14 rebounds, thus earning his first double double.
Loyola staved off the resilient Hornets attack until Southern Poly took back the lead 57-55 at the 7:50 mark. Down 68-63 with 1:30 remaining in the game, the ‘Pack rallied behind a Chris Joseph three-pointer and a free throw by Tomeny, to cut the deficit to one point.
Southern Poly’s Trey Payne secured a bucket of his own to force the lead back to three with under 30 seconds remaining. Next, Payne stripped the ball from Gray, was immediately fouled, but missed the front half of the one and one. Then, Gray connected on the most clutch three of the game to knot the game at 70 and send it to overtime.
Down 74-78 with a minute remaining in overtime, the Wolfpack tried to stage another dramatic comeback. Corey Gray made yet another big three-point shot, closing the gap to one. However, Southern Poly converted on clutch free throws to prevent the Loyola upset bid.
Corey Gray finished the game with 19 points. Gray is now #20 on the Loyola all-time career-scoring list with 1,090 points, surpassing Steve Alfonso, Scott Thompson, and Mack Doby. In addition, Chris Joseph recorded 11 total points and a career high six assists, while Cameron Cates nearly recorded a double double of his own, netting 16 points and nine rebounds. Loyola shot 44.6% from the field, 44% from beyond the arc, and 71.4% from the free throw line.
Freshman guard Kyle Simmons received his first collegiate start of his career. Simmons tallied five points and achieved career highs in rebounds and assists with eight and five respectively.
Trey Payne and Bobby Smith powered the Hornets attack this evening. Payne recorded 21 points on 7-11 shooting, and Smith scored 23 points while also grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out seven assists. Southern Poly remains perfect in SSAC play, now 5-0 on the season.
The ‘Pack return to action at The Den on January 12, when they compete in their first SSAC West Divisional Game of the season against Spring Hill at 7:30 p.m. CST.
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