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UMBC and Loyola struggling without key players

Loyola clearly missed all the dirty work Jarred Jones provides when they played UMBC.

Loyola clearly missed all the dirty work Jarred Jones provides when they played UMBC.

The UMBC and Loyola men’s basketball teams put together just a terrible game on Wednesday night. Neither team could make a shot, not even uncontested shots; neither team could make a three-throw, they went a combined 3-for-34; and neither team could either control the ball as each turned it over 19 times nor take advantage of the opposing team’s mistakes, as there were only a combined 17 points of turnovers.

It was just an ugly game but it was really just horrible timing for these two teams to get on the floor to play each other.

Both teams at the same time were trying to figure out how to play without their best players.

In each team’s last game they lost their star. On Friday, Nov. 14 at Akron in their season-opener UMBC lost star sophomore point guard Rodney Elliott and on Sunday No. 16 in their second game of the season against Cornell the Greyhounds lost Jarred Jones.

Last season Elliott averaged 15 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists as he was unanimously named the America East Conference Rookie of the Year ad against Akron in just 19 minutes he showed he was well on his way to another successful season with nine points, three rebounds and three assists.

And he was leading the team so well, moving the ball around, finding the open man and setting up the offense.

That presence was clearly missing against Loyola. Freshman Jourdan Grant did his best but in just his second collegiate game ever he just wasn’t capable of doing the same things just yet.

“We miss Rodney,” UMBC Head Coach Aki Thomas said. “A lot of things we do go around him being on the floor but he’s not out there and we don’t know when he’ll be back. We just want him to get healthy.”

Against Akron Elliott suffered a shoulder injury but there is no time-table for his return.

“Until then we’ll look at this lineup and play hard,” Thomas said.

Jones, who graduated a year ahead of Elliott from John Carroll High School, is one of the few upperclassmen for the Greyhounds and suffered a sprained MCL against Cornell. Head Coach G.G. Smith said he might be back in about a week but without him Loyola is a very different team.

“Jarred Jones is the most versatile player on our team,” Smith said. “He does a lot for us. He does all the dirty work. He’s the hardest working player and you can tell we missed him tonight. He sets the tone, especially on the defense.”

In 40 total minutes this year, Jones has averaged 6.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and has three assists, three blocks and two steals.

Last season Jones averaged 8.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and led the team with 1.4 blocks per game.

And without him the team is left with a lot of youth.

Freshman Cam Gregory is already in the starting lineup while Andre Walker is leading the team offensively but Colton Bishop and Chancellor Bernard are freshman also seeing significant time off the bench.

“As a coach you forget we got four freshman out there playing at times so it’s going to take some time,” Smith said.

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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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