Result stays the same for Loyola a 79-68 loss

The last place Loyola athletic director Joe Boylan expected to be yesterday afternoon was where he ended up -- pacing the sideline in front of the Loyola College bench as the Greyhounds' interim coach.

Called back from the NCAA convention in Dallas after the unexpected resignation of four-year coach Tom Schneider on Friday, Boylan watched the Greyhounds drop their eighth straight game and third straight in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, 79-68, to St. Peter's at Reitz Arena.


"It's been hectic the last two days," said Boylan. "But hopefully it'll work out for everybody."

There were no big changes for the Greyhounds (1-11, 0-3), who practiced with Boylan late Friday afternoon, but there were some positives.


Leading that list of positives was the performance of junior center Mark Sparzak, a Bel Air native from Calvert Hall, who contributed a career-high 26 points on 11-for-12 shooting.

"Mark Sparzak is one of the great stories of this team this year. But I was pleased with the effort of everyone today," said Boylan. "Everyone in the game and on the bench was into the game. And in the second half we scored almost 40 points [39 to be exact] which is good for us. And we only turned the ball over five times in the second half. They were all positives."

But Loyola gave up too many inside baskets to the Peacocks (7-5, 1-0), who dominated the backboards. St. Peter's finished with a 42-21 rebounding edge that led to 60 percent field-goal shooting. Scott Weeden topped St. Peter's with 26 points and Oyango Merriman added 16.

"St. Peter's did a good job of punishing us, exploiting where we weren't strong," said Boylan. "Inside they destroyed us."

The new-coach factor didn't improve the Greyhounds' start. After taking a quick 4-0 lead on a pair of Sparzak baskets, the Greyhounds fell behind 20-11 as the Peacocks turned in a 20-7 run over the next seven minutes, using both their inside strength and the transition game.

"You never know how a coaching change will go," said St. Peter's coach Ted Fiore. "Loyola could have come out charged up or flat. But we did get on the offensive boards early and took advantage of our fast break."

Loyola closed that early deficit with a six-point spurt in 26 seconds. A three-point play by B. J. Pendleton started the run. Then a pair of steals by Mike Malone led to the next three points, a free throw from David Credle and a pair of foul shots by Pendleton. But Loyola could get no closer than three points the remainder of the half as St. Peter's grabbed 10 offensive rebounds. Loyola totaled only nine at both ends.

The Peacocks, scoring easily inside, opened a 34-23 lead with just more than four minutes to play in the first half, before Loyola again rallied. The Greyhounds cut that lead to 34-29 after a fast-break feed from Pendleton to Sparzak with just more than two minutes left.


But St. Peter's, which shot 63 percent from the field (19 of 30) in the first half, scored the final seven points to open its biggest lead.

The lead climbed to as many as 17 points (72-55) in the second half, but Loyola kept scrapping back.

"Our effort was good," said Boylan. "We played hard and refused to let it be a blowout. But it's hard to feel good about a game that you lose."

The Greyhounds have six days to prepare for their next game Saturday at Siena.