Men's Basketball Renews Xavier Rivalry Tuesday

Mon, 11/28/2011

NEW ORLEANS, La. – On Tuesday evening, the Loyola University Men’s basketball team travels across town to take on Xavier University inside The Barn at 7:30 p.m. CST.

The Wolfpack moved to 5-2 on the year after taking down Dillard 70-59 on Saturday afternoon. Freshman McCall Tomeny looks to continue to his emergence after scoring a career high 16 points against the Bleu Devils.

Points, rebounds, and assists leader Robert Lovaglio enters Tuesday’s game ranked 21st in the country in total scoring (142), 23rd in offensive rebounds per game (3.286), and 25th in points per game with 20.29. Corey Gray, who scored 31 points against Truett-McConnell just nine days ago, ranks 16th in three-point field goals made per game (3.143). Gray is also just 19 points away from reaching 1,000 career points.

As a team the ‘Pack are ranked 7th in free throw percentage, 16th in three-point field goal percentage defense (.263), 31st in field goal percentage defense (.403), 35th in blocks per game (3.43), and 39th in scoring defense per game (68).

Loyola faces a 4-1 Xavier squad who is currently ranked 21st in the preseason Coaches Top 25 poll and picked to finish second in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. The Gold Rush finished 27-6 and ranked 17th in the country last season, and currently boast a 3-0 record on their home court. Xavier returns to action after their first loss of the season, falling 67-78 to Wiley College.

The ‘Pack’s defensive energies will be focused on a trio of Gold Rush juniors. Guard Nick Haywood is coming off a 26-point performance in which he converted seven three-point shots, the most by a Gold Rush player since March 2008. Forward Anthony Simmons was selected 2010 All GCAC and currently leads the team in scoring with 10.60 points per game. Finally, guard Kevin Miller averages 10.20 points per game and leads the team in total rebounds with 30.

“We have to be a lot more careful with the ball. They are always strong defensively, and we need to keep them off the boards,” said Loyola head coach Dr. Michael Giorlando. “If we can sustain our pressure throughout the entire match, we’ll have a chance to compete and come away with a win.”

The ‘Pack are just 4-29 against the Gold Rush and 2-11 under Coach Giorlando. Last season, the Wolfpack fell 64-66 at Xavier. Loyola last defeated the Gold Rush 69-62 in January 2010 at The Barn.

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