No. 13 Xavier outlasts Loyola men

Sat, 01/15/2011

NEW ORLEANS - Freshman Robert Lovaglio scored a career-high 29 points to led the Loyola University New Orleans basketball team to a comeback against No. 13 Xavier University, but a last-second runner by Devin Andrew gave the Gold Rush a 66-64 win on Saturday night at The Barn.

Loyola (7-8) trailed by as much as 12 in the second half, but Loyola, playing without their leading scorer Ryan Brock who was out due to injury, got a career-night from Lovaglio to even the score in the game’s final minutes.

Lovaglio, out of Winter Park, Fla., scored 18 second-half points which included tying the score at 62 and 64. Down, 62-59, Lovaglio nailed a three with 2:02 left, and following a pair of free throws by Andrew, he hit two from the stripe to tie the game at 64 with 1:14 on the clock.

Loyola stopped Xavier (16-2) on the ensuing possession, but was called for an offensive foul to give the ball back with 18 seconds remaining. Out of a timeout, Andrews found a seem in the lane and banked a runner to put the Gold Rush up, 66-64, with two seconds left. The Wolfpack turned it over on the inbounds as Xavier took the season series, 2-0.

"Tonight's game was a bitter loss to handle, but I couldn't be more proud our team's effort,” said Loyola head coach Dr. Michael Giorlando. “Richard Kohnke and Robert Lovaglio were outstanding against a ranked team on their home floor. This game will get us ready as conference play resumes on Thursday against a well disciplined, well coached Faulkner team.”

Lovaglio’s 29 points came from 11 of 13 shooting which included a pair of three pointers. Corey Gray, who finished with 17 points, hit five threes on the night which included bringing LU within one late in the game. Loyola as a team connected on 8 of 19 from behind the arc.

Rounding out the leaders for the Wolfpack, Tommy Stangl chipped in with eight points and had a game-high five assists.

Xavier was led by Andrew off the bench with 11 points. Jamaan Kenner and Anthony Simmons had 10 points each.

Loyola’s defense shut down Xavier early as they took a 19-12 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half. However, the Gold Rush offense woke up as the headed into the break up 34-26.

Xavier grabbed their largest lead of the night out of the break, going up 40-28. Loyola stayed within striking distance and evened the score late on two separate occasions, but were never able to take the lead.

Loyola shot 50 percent (24 of 48) from the field and were 8 of 12 from the line. Xavier finished at 52 percent (22 of 42) and outrebounded LU, 25-22.

Loyola will return to SSAC play on Thursday, Jan. 20, when they host Faulkner University at The Den. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

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