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Jones’ late heroics complete upset of Bucknell

By: Jenna Pizzi

Jarred Jones led Loyola with 23 points and 12 rebounds, but his late jumper and block couldn’t have been bigger as the Greyhounds upset the Patriot League-leading Bucknell Bison.

With 44 seconds remaining in the game and the Loyola Greyhounds men’s basketball team down by one, Jarred Jones created some separation inside the arc, rose up and hit a fading jumper to put his team in the lead. Then, he came up even bigger on the defensive end as he blocked Stephen Brown’s layup with less than 10 seconds left in the game. Those two plays helped secure a 78-77 Greyhound victory in Reitz Arena on Wednesday night.

Jones finished with a game-high 23 points on 11-for-19 shooting to go with 12 rebounds, which also led the game, two blocks and two steals, all helping Loyola snap and eight-game losing streak to the Bison, while pulling off an upset victory over the Patriot League leaders.

Loyola’s intensity and focus on getting the win was clear from the beginning of the game. After Brown opened the scoring with a layup for the Bison, James responded immediately and sparked the Greyhounds on a seven-point spurt. A James Fives steal helped the Greyhounds take a lead soon after Jones’ layup as Cam Gregory finished the possession with a second-chance dunk. Then a steal by Jones led to a James Fives and-one to put Loyola up 7-2.

The Bison snapped a three and a half minute scoring drought with makes by Brown and Nana Foulland on consecutive possessions, but in response to both, Andre Walker and Fives each hit 3-pointers to further extend the Loyola lead out to seven points at 13-6 with just under five minutes off the clock in the first half.

Loyola was constantly moving the ball and their smart passes led to quality shooting opportunities and helped the Greyhounds hit 53.3-percent of their attempts in the first half. And that only rose in the second half, where they made 56.5-percent of their shots.

The Greyhounds led for the final 18 minutes of the first half after Gregory’s dunk gave them the early lead. Loyola was ahead by as many as 13 points in the first half after Walker hit a layup with 5:27 left before the break. Walker finished the game second on the team with 18 points, including four made 3-pointers, to go with six rebounds, five assists and two steals in the game.

A 3-pointer by Kimbal Mackenzie would trim the Loyola lead down to six points with 1:34 left showing on the clock in the first half, Loyola was able to secure a 43-34 halftime lead on a layup by Jones out of a timeout to set up the play.

The hot-shooting Greyhounds would further extend that lead out to 15 points with 15:44 left in the game when Champion stole the ball from Brown and went down the floor for a fast-break layup.

But Bucknell showed why they have the best record in the Patriot League. A 3-pointer by John Azzinaro shifted the gears of the game and sparked Bucknell on an 11-point run. Azzinaro himself hit three of his four made 3-pointers in that run to make it a 57-53 game. And that run would continue for the Bison. Jones gave Loyola two points to push them back up by six, but the 11-0 run just became a 20-2 run.

With 8:38 left a dunk by Foulland gave the Bison a 62-59 lead. This is usually the point in the game where the Bison would show off their superiority and continue hitting shots to keep ahead, but Loyola wasn’t ready to roll over and concede.

Walker named a 3-pointer to retie the game at 62 each. Jones then hit back-to-back layups to put the Greyhounds up by four points. Foulland, who led Bucknell with 17 points, responded with a dunk, but Loyola was still able to keep ahead for the meantime.

Zach Thomas finally gave Bucknell a lead back with a 3-pointer with 4:37 left in regulation, but it was back-and-forth basketball over the final four minutes.

There were two ties and three lead changes in the final four minutes of the game. Jones hit back-to-back layups to put the Hounds ahead 71-69. Foullando them retied the game with a layup of his own. After two made free throws by Gregory, Mackenzie hit a 3-pointer to put Bucknell back ahead 74-73 with 72 seconds left.

Then Jones had his extra special final minute. Hit fade put Loyola ahead, his block kept them ahead and late free throws by Champion and Gregory further extended Loyola’s lead.

With two seconds left, Gregory put the Hounds up by four points. Bucknell was out of time for even Browns’ halfcourt make to matter.

Fives joined Jones and Walker with a double-digit scoring effort as he hit two 3-pointers and finished with 16 points.

Loyola improved to 8-7 in Patriots League play with their victory and moved into sole possession of fifth place. They will look for their ninth conference win on Sunday at noon when they host Colgate.

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Jenna Pizzi

Staff Writer
There has not been one moment in Jenna's life where she was not part of a team. From the age of single digits until high school, soccer became her center. Other sports were attempted, but nothing was as fulfilling as her defending the net or assisting a goal with a wide pass. During her high school days of soccer and track, she was a writer for the school newspaper, covering sports. High School was here her interest in basketball peaked, which is still a favorite of hers. In contrast, her father is a football fan, who watched each game religiously. Her inherited this trait from his mother, who is a Yankees fanatic. To continue the family passion, Jenna is currently a sports writer, both for The Greyhound at Loyola University of Maryland and now at So Much Sports.

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