(New Orleans, La.) Loyola University New Orleans went on a second half run and withstood a late charge to defeat #19 ranked Xavier University of Louisiana 74-70 in men’s basketball Tuesday evening in Xavier’s Convocation Center.
Trailing by six with 14 minutes remaining in the half, Loyola’s Daniel Kuhl and Mason Ibert hit three’s to bring the Wolf Pack even. After trading baskets, the two teams were tied at 51 with 10:43 left in the game. The Pack followed with an 8-2 run thanks to four points from Kyle Simmons.
Loyola (1-3) held a 64-55 lead with 5:14 remaining, but the Gold Rush went on a 9-2 run with seven points coming from Gary Smith. Sydney Coleman had a putback layup with 1:13 left to bring Xavier within one. However, Kuhl penetrated and found Cameron Hill for a layup to give the Pack a 70-67 lead. The Pack followed with good defense and just enough free throws to close out the game and secure their first win of the season.
The Wolf Pack trailed 37-35 at halftime despite 17 first half points from the starting backcourt of Jalen Gray and Kyle Simmons. Gray finished with 14 and Simmons had 15 which tied for team high honors. Mason Ibert came off the bench to score 15 as well. Cameron Hill scored 11 and grabbed six rebounds off the bench. Nate Pierre had a dominant defensive effort in the paint as he had a team high seven rebounds to go with three blocks and a steal. Kuhl contributed six assists while Gray added four.
Xavier (4-1) was led by 18 points from Morris Wright. Smith scored 16 and Coleman tallied 14 and a team best 11 rebounds. Xavier Rogers put up five assists to lead the Gold Rush.
“Our team bounced back from a very challenging weekend in Montgomery by beating a very hard-nosed, defensive Xavier team. I am very proud of our team effort especially that of Nate and Mason. This was a true team victory, but we need to put this behind us and prepare for conference play this weekend,” said head coach Dr. Michael Giorlando.
The Pack will be back in action on Friday, November 22nd at 7:30 p.m. as they take on the College of Coastal Georgia in The Den. The Pack will be celebrating Faculty /Staff night where the department which brings the most people to the game keeps the 1952 Gulf States Track Championship trophy.