Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's Loyola

A long time ago when they hired Jim Phelan at the Mount, they told him one thing.

Beat Loyola.

That is the type of rivalry that today's game is. And despite the disappointing start to the season, the play of the Mountaineers in recent days has made me believe that today's renewal of that rivalry may well be one of the more entertaining games we've seen at the Knott in recent years.

Couple that with the fact that the Greyhounds enter on a bit of a high. They haven't lost since opening night, when they traveled to ACC Country and almost got a win in Winston-Salem against the Demon Deacons.

But since then the Hounds have been perfect. Rolling up seven straight wins, including Wednesday night's impressive 10-point defeat of George Washington and a MAAC win last weekend over Siena. The same Siena squad that dropped this Mount bunch in the home opener in November. It's the best start for the school in their Division I history.

This will be the 167th meeting between the two schools and you can be certain that the Green and Gray will bring a few fans with them from Baltimore for the encounter. Those that don't get to the game can watch on MASN or YES at 2pm. Johnny Holliday and former Georgetown coach Craig Esherick will detail the action.

Dylon Cormier leads the Hounds in scoring. He's at 18.3 for a team that averages four players in double figures and plays an up tempo style that sees them score 70+ per night. Erik Etherly, Shane Walker, and Justin Drummond are also in double figures for Jimmy Patsos' crew.

The Mount, as we all know, is incredibly balanced. A different guy seems to be the leading scorer each night. Julian Norfleet made four trifectas in the narrow defeat to Maryland (where Patsos was an assistant under Gary Williams) on Wednesday night and leads the Mount with 11.0 per game. Raven Barber has been in double figures the last three games and freshman Kelvin Parker has been a consistent offensive threat since moving into the starting lineup.

The Mount has won 96 of the previous 166 encounters with Loyola. It is in search of 97 today as it looks to end a six-game losing streak.

Let's get it done.

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  1. It is a shame that we always seem to have the best mid majors on our schedule. I wish that one year we would have a quinnipiac or ccsu type schedule. Then our record will be much better at the end of the year. Of course we always play Loyola but American and Albany are pretty darn good too.

  2. Well, today we retained a nice crowd of enthusiastic students and I am happy for that. Many are freshman who have yet to see what Mount basketball can be.

    We gained some inside game from Krajina, but Thompson was invisible. KP made a few and missed a few. Castellanos was nowhere to be found.

    Julian didn't turn over the ball and did some good shooting, but some of it was almost when it simply didn't matter.

    Barber was an almost - just a little too far away a few times. Holley showed some toughness and presence.

    So, in the end we are still developing.

    Now we play 4 more games, perhaps surprise with a win or two, but by then, even assuming Pierre does not return and Owens and Wells are still unavailable, we will be ready to be the surprise of the NEC.

    I can see it happening.

  3. I don't see this team winning many games this year, I just don't think we're good enough. But the players are playing hard and that's all I can ask for.