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Patsos blasts fans and effort after loss

Niagara’s 2-3 zone defense limited the Greyhounds inside all-night and forced the ball outside, where they shot only 4-for-15.

Baltimore, Md. — Before he mentioned anything about his team’s 62-61 loss to Niagara in their conference opener Loyola Head basketball coach Jimmy Patsos wanted to make it clear that he was very upset about the lack of attendance at his Wednesday night game that attracted only 742, leaving the 3,000-seat Reitz arena quite empty and quiet.

“You give your whole life to this program for the past nine years, we do everything the right way and do what we’re supposed to do but that’s the best we can do for our home [conference] opener,” Patsos said. “Why we lost is my fault as a coach but quite frankly I’m a little disappointed because energy comes from the crowd. In two weeks we have gone from having a sold out game to ‘oh, the men’s basketball team is playing at Loyola again.’”

But like he said, ultimately the reason the team lost was not because of the small crowd size, it was a lack of energy and ability to play good defense in transition and offensively against Niagara’s 2-3 zone defense.

Loyola shot 40.4-percent from the floor and went only 4-for-15 (.267) from three-point range. Junior point guard Dylon Cormier led the Greyhounds with 17 points and Robert Olson chipped in 10 of his own but all night the Greyhounds were really unable to get in any sort of an offensive rhythm, especially inside.

“We didn’t throw the ball inside,” Patsos said. “You have to throw the ball inside-out. We stood, we stared and there were guys wide open but we couldn’t get the ball inside.”

Cormier explained that the Niagara zone defense really slowed their offense down and prevented them from setting the tempo of the game or gaining any momentum.

“We are usually prepared for the zone but today we weren’t getting any movement,” he said. “We held the ball for too long and it slowed us down. We had the momentum going but they slowed us down and it allowed them to rebound and get out on our missed shots. A lot of time on our shot clock ran down and we had to take bad shots.”

Cormier continued on to explain that the team’s poor three-point shooting has been a detriment to the team the past two games. In the team’s last game, a 65-50 loss at Florida Gulf Coast, a game that Patsos referred to as “the worst game I have coaches in five years,” Loyola went just 1-for-17 from three-point range and followed that up with another poor shooting night.

“We have to make shots,” Cormier said. “You have to put the ball in the basket. It’s hard and when teams play zone they force you to shoot from outside but when you can’t put points on the board you let them go on runs.”

The Greyhounds actually out-scored the Purple Eagles in the paint 32-24 and matched their rebounding at 32 boards and while Niagara only had 16 points off turnovers to Loyola’s 15 and seven second-chance points to Loyola’s 11, the transition game was what set the tone for the game.

Once Loyola started to miss those shots as the clock winded down there was little pressure from the Greyhound defense to press them and force a quick turnover. Instead the Purple Eagles were able to get up the floor quickly and either make an easy layup inside, draw a foul on the attempt, or if the inside attempt failed, they would slow things down and set up their offense.

“Transition basketball, you have to want to play fast, be willing to throw the ball ahead and make the extra quick pass inside,” Patsos said. “I think they were holding the ball a little but I was more concerned with our energy.

“We didn’t have energy on the defensive end and we didn’t believe we had to dig in and stop people. Those turn into baskets. While we could have stole that game, don’t be fooled, for 40 minutes they were the better team.”

With 2:28 remaining in the game Loyola fell behind by eight points after Antoine Mason made two free throws but Franz Rassman led Loyola on a 7-0 run before Tyler Hubbard was able to tie the game.

After the free throws Niagara was looking to get the ball inbounds but Loyola shut down nearly every passing lane and when the ball just got throw over to the right side Rassman stepped in front of the intended Niagara player and got the ball over to Hubbard, who was fouled in a scramble on a three-point attempt and made all three shots.

Then, Loyola forced another turnover and Rassman drew a foul of his own. While he missed the second free throw, he got to the rim for his own rebound and was fouled for an opportunity for a three-point play, which he completed.

Loyola’s inbound defense was phenomenal in the final two minutes and they forced another turnover on the ensuing rebound. Hubbard came up with the ball and hit one of his two free throws to tie the game but yet another team down the other end of the floor put the ball in Cormier’s hands. Unfortunately, though, his drive to the hoop ended in a block and the Greyhounds were never able get the lead down the stretch.

Juan’ya Green hot a layup and two free throws to make it a four-point game with only four seconds left, making Anthony Winbush’s last-second three-pointer a meaningless shot.

“Coach can’t coach effort,” Cormier said. “That is why he’s stressing it so much and he’s so upset about it but us player have to step it up and more effort out there. Losing two game is definitely hard when you don’t give it your best effort.”

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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