NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team defeated the Xavier Gold Rush 66-59 Tuesday night inside The Barn. Loyola moves to 6-2 on the season while Xavier falls to 4-2. Xavier is ranked 21st in the latest NAIA poll.
The victory is the first win against a ranked opponent since Loyola defeated #14 Lee University 59-49 in the 2010-11 season.
The trio of Robert Lovaglio, Cameron Cates, and Corey Gray tallied double-digits in scoring tonight. Lovaglio recorded his second double-double of the season, scoring 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Cates scored 10 points, going 8-10 from the free throw line. Finally, Gray scored 13 points, going 7-8 from the free throw line.
In the first half, Loyola jumped out to a 6-3 lead thanks to quick buckets from Gray and Lovaglio. The Gold Rush answered with a 9-0 run and took a 12-6 lead mid-way through the half. Xavier continued their offensive surge, building their largest lead of the half to 8 points (12-20) at the 4:30 mark. However, the ‘Pack picked up their defensive pressure. A diving steal by Chris Joseph, coupled with an old fashioned three-point play by Tomeny, ignited a Wolfpack run to end the half with the scored tied at 20.
Thanks to three-point baskets from Joseph and Tomeny, the ‘Pack jumped out to a 31-26 lead in the first four minutes of the second half. Both teams found their offenses early, amassing their first half totals of 20 points each just 11 minutes into the second half, thus knotting the game at 40 a piece.
From the five minute to one minute mark, Lovaglio and Davis powered the Wolfpack offense, scoring a combined 10 points. Yet, with just 30 seconds remaining the score was 62-57 in favor of the ‘Pack. With the Gold Rush threatening, Steven Davis delivered his biggest block of the season, negating the Xavier attack. Then, Tomeny and Cates clinched the game with two successful free-throws each.
Loyola shot 36.7% from the field, 2-5 from beyond the arc, and 75.7% from the free throw line. The ‘Pack also forced 15 Gold Rush turnovers that resulted in eight points.
Nick Haywood and Wanto Joseph led the Xavier offense with 14 and 10 points respectively. The Gold Rush shot 44.2% from the field, 38.5% from three-point range, and 59.3% from the free throw line.
“We had a solid defensive effort for both halves, and we were able to sustain their runs late, which is not easy to do, said Loyola head coach Dr. Michael Giorlando. “Very proud of the effort off the bench from Kyle Simmons and Steve Davis. They gave us great minutes tonight.”
Loyola returns to action Friday evening, when they clash with conference opponent Shorter at 7:30 p.m. CST inside The Den.
# # #