Loyola's adjustment to basketball without leading scorer and rebounder Dylon Cormier has been mixed.
Cormier, likely lost for the season after sustaining a pair of left wrist fractures in the Greyhounds' loss to Army last Saturday, had surgery on Wednesday. Loyola (10-13, 5-7 Patriot League) responded to losing their best player by beating the conference's best team, American (14-9, 10-2).
But they lost to Lehigh, 66-52, on Saturday in Bethlehem, Pa., shooting just 33.3 in the process, including 20 percent from 3-point range.
“Losing Dylon was really difficult for us,” Loyola coach G.G. Smith said. “He was the heart and soul of our team, we are going to miss his scoring and his rebounding, and his toughness.
"But the other night, I thought our guys played well. They stepped up to the challenge. I think it was a confidence boost for guys who are like, ‘Hey, we can do this too.”’
Without Cormier, Smith has warned his team about overcompensating. Sophomore guard Eric Laster and senior forward Jordan Latham (City) scoring 17 and 13 points, respectively, against the Mountain Hawks. But their teammates struggled.
“We just need them all to be themselves,” Smith said. “We don’t need them to go out there and be Dylon and try to be spectacular, just be solid.”
Cormier, meanwhile -- with his college basketball career over -- must consider his next move. Smith does not believe the 6-foot-3, 184-pound guard played his last game.
“Dylon is going to have a career outside of college basketball,” Smith said. “Dylon is the type of kid who is going to play at the next level and make some money playing overseas, or here, somewhere in the states.”
At the time of his injury, the former Cardinal Gibbons star led the Patriot League in scoring (21.2 points per game), ranked second in the conference in steals per game (2.2) and sixth in rebounds (5.8).
In 115 career games, Cormier scored 1,659 points, seventh on Loyola's all-time list.
He didn’t make the trip to Lehigh but will rejoin the team next week.
“He’s still our leader, he’s just not on the court,” Smith said. “The most important thing for Dylon, he is going to get his degree in May, he is going to graduate. In four years, he had a great career. We were fortunate that he was a Greyhound."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun