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Jones’ double-double not enough for Army West Point

By: Allan Blanks

Jarred Jones scored 14 points with 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.

Jarred Jones scored 14 points with 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.

A commanding start and a double­-double from Jarred Jones, was not enough to extend the Loyola Greyhounds winning streak to four games. Prolonged scoring droughts proved costly, as the Greyhounds surrendered their first conference loss of the season, falling to the Army West Point Black Knights, 73­-59. Overall, Loyola is 4-­11 but still have a strong 3-­1 record in the Patriot Conference.

“Both teams played hard,” Loyola Greyhounds Head Coach G.G. Smith said. “I thought the biggest difference came in the first half, when we were tied at 25. At the end of the half, they (Army West Point) went on an 11­-0 run, and we could never recover after that stretch.”

In the opening stanza, Loyola stormed the paint and set a feverish tempo for the contest. Sophomore guard Andre Walker, struck first when he beat a defender off the dribble and nailed his opening jump shot. Fearless and primed to attack, Walker provides instant energy and can explode at any moment.

“Andre Walker is our leader and he’s always on the attack,” Smith said. “Walker takes some tough shots, sometimes we put him in some bad positions, but he’s always in attack mode and we need him to play well every game, if we want to win.”

Walker led Loyola with 17 points, but shot 31-­percent from the field, and 33­-percent from beyond the arc.

After Walker put the Greyhounds on the board, Jones went to work, and bullied his way to a low-­post score. For the duration of the contest, a clash took place between Jones and the Black Knights’ Tanner Plomb.

“When I get the ball inside, I got to finish no matter how big the person is,” Jones said. “I’m a little undersized in my weight, but I’m still going to get the bucket, and I try to share the ball as well.”

Light on his feet, but heavy with strength, Jones attacks the basket on both ends, and wrecks havoc above the rim. Jones closed the game with 14 rebounds, 10 points, three blocks and three assists.

Opposite of Jones, Plumb recorded 22 points, eight boards, and one block.

As Army West Point struggled to match the intense pace of Loyola, the Greyhounds offense mounted a 9-­4 lead, with 15:44 left in the first half. At this time, the Black Knights issued several substitutions and responded by pressing the Loyola offense, which surrendered seven turnovers before intermission.

To make matters tougher, Army West Point opted for a bigger and taller lineup. This adjustment helped the Black Knights control the boards 22­-19, win points in the paint 25­-12, and deny Loyola a much needed interior presence.

Despite the defensive alignments, the Greyhounds were able to penetrate Army West Point’s coverage and create scoring opportunities. However, Loyola struggled to convert open jump shots and execute contested but makeable layups.

Loyola shot 30-­percent from the field and 20­-percent from downtown. The revolving door of Black Knight substitutions registered 18 points from the bench, and helped Army West Point to shoot 47-­percent from the field and 37-­percent from distance.

With 4:08 left in the first stanza, Franz Rassman pounded the paint and tied game 25 all.

Nine second later, the Black Knights called a timeout and installed fresh legs to finish out the half. Just as their opponent, the Greyhounds seized the opportunity to replace personnel and reclaim their lead. It was this moment, in which Loyola struggled to trade points and fell behind, 36­-25.

During this stretch, fatigue was not a factor, instead the culprit was lack of execution by the Greyhounds. Three turnovers, five missed field goals, and one failed free throw attempt proved costly and haunted Loyola throughout the second stanza.

“We had a bad night shooting the ball,” Smith said. “We went 2­-for-16 from three­-point range, and you have to make shots in this league. Our best shooters Eric Laster and Tyler Hubbard had a tough night.”

At intermission, Hubbard tallied three points, while Laster manufactured a modest two.

Desperately needing a spark, Loyola turned to Barnard Chancellor, who scored five of the Greyhounds first seven points of the second half. Jones chipped in a layup which cut an 11 point deficit to seven, 40­-33. However, eight turnovers, 18 points surrendered in the paint and nine offensive boards allowed to the Black Knights diminished any chance of a comeback.

The Greyhounds next game will be on the road, though a short trip as they play Navy on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 7 pm.

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Allan Blanks

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