A year ago, the Loyola Greyhounds had won one of eight games and was a team looking for answers. They would finish 4-24, and the future didn't look too bright.
Things are different this season. Loyola raised its record to 3-4 Saturday with an 85-72 win over Sam Houston State in the consolation game of the Longhorn Classic in Austin, Texas.
After the Greyhounds lost to Towson State, 62-60, in the championship game of the Beltway Classic Dec. 1, coach Tom Schneider wanted someone to take the scoring burden off guards Kevin Green and Tracy Bergan. He may have found him in forward Kevin Anderson, who was named to the all-tournament team after scoring 19 points against Sam Houston and 20 against Texas on Friday in a 112-68 loss.
"He's playing terrific," Schneider said. "If he continues to play like that, he'll just open up things inside for us because he gives us a third outside threat."
Saturday's victory was Loyola's second on the road, equaling the number of road victories in the past two seasons combined (the Greyhounds were 0-16 away from Reitz Arena last season). Loyola won its third game last season on Jan. 13, and the Greyhounds can equal last year's win total tomorrow when they play host to American University.
"We are very far ahead of where we were a year ago," said Schneider after his team frustrated a Sam Houston team that had been averaging 91 points. "I feel good coming back to Reitz on an up note. I'm very positive about this team."
Loyola has lost to La Salle, Towson, Xavier and Texas -- all National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament teams last season.
* Hungry Dolphins: After down-to-the wire wins over Navy and Maryland, Jacksonville will probably be more than happy to put out the welcome mat for Maryland-based teams in the future.
The Dolphins made it two-for-Maryland Saturday, as Tim Burroughs scored the game-winning basket on a layup with six seconds left for a 71-70 victory over the Terrapins.
Ten days ago, a layup by Reggie Law at the buzzer gave the Dolphins an 84-82 win over Navy in the first round of the Mazda Gator Bowl tournament in Jacksonville, Fla.
This year's theme for the Dolphins is "The big schools are coming . . . It's feeding time." Saturday's meal was the Dolphins' first victory over an Atlantic Coast Conference school since beating Georgia Tech, 64-41, in 1981.
"We got a big fish tonight," said Jacksonville coach Rich Haddad.
Maryland was the only ACC team to lose in seven non-conference games over the weekend.
* Wrong strategy: University of Nevada coach Len Stevens had what he thought was a good strategy against Nevada-Las Vegas Saturday night -- shut down Larry Johnson and the top-ranked Rebels' dominating inside play.
The Wolf Pack dared UNLV to shoot jumpers, and the Rebels responded with a school-record 21 three-pointers in a 131-81 rout. Travis Bice hit six three-pointers, accounting for all of his 18 points.
"They just wore us down," Stevens said after the Rebels shot 21-for-46 from three-point range, breaking the school record of 17. "There's no question they're the No. 1 team in the country. They have many weapons."
UNLV (2-0) will face its first tough test of the season Saturday at No. 19 Michigan State.
Sean Woods scored a career-high 25, as No. 25 Kentucky (4-0) beat Kansas, 88-71, before a sellout crowd at Rupp Arena.
"We were very up for this game," said Woods, a junior. "We were very tense. Deep down in our minds, hey, you can't forget a loss like that."
The 55-point loss was the second-biggest in the history of Kentucky basketball.
* Late Saturday local scores: Andy Enfield scored a game-high 25 to lead Johns Hopkins (5-4, 1-3) over host Emory in a University Athletic Conference game, and Bowie State came from a 32-31 halftime deficit for a 77-63 win over Clarion.
* Key game this week (local): James Madison at Mount St. Mary's Saturday. With seniors Steve Hood, Billy Coles and Fess Irvin leading the way, Lefty Driesell seems to be building a powerhouse in Harrisonburg, Va.
The Mount (1-4) is coming off a 114-104 loss at North Carolina State.
* Key game this week (national): North Carolina (4-1), perhaps not playing up to its No. 10 ranking, will play Kentucky tonight in Chapel Hill. Both teams have 1,483 victories and will be playing for the No. 1 spot in college basketball.