Offensive switch helps Loyola upset Mt. Hebron BOYS BASKETBALL


This time the teacher's team beat the student's team.

Fourth-year Mount Hebron coach Scott Robinson, who spent seven years as Loyola coach Jerry Savage's assistant, learned one more lesson from the master last night at Loyola.

After shooting poorly in the first half and falling behind, 38-31, in its low-post offense, Loyola switched to a baseline offense in the second half and caught fire to upset the No. 12 Vikings, 71-66.

Loyola shot 15-for-26 in the second half and 8-for-11 in the fourth quarter.

"They were doing such a good job of overplaying us defensively in the first half that we needed to push their defense back and then hopefully break some people loose on screens," Savage said.

"That switch made a big difference for us."

In the second half, Loyola kept breaking players open for 10-foot jumpers in the lane.

Loyola's players remembered last year's loss to Mount Hebron.

A year ago, Mount Hebron trounced Loyola, 77-51, as Kurtis Jestes scored 34 points, including a school-record seven three-point baskets.

"They embarrassed us last year at their gym and we were looking to get over the hump this season," said Loyola's Matt Neumayer.

"This year we have a better bench and team unity."

This year Loyola (4-1) overcame the inside rebounding and defensive strength of Patrick Ngongba (34 points) and the outside shooting of Jestes (17 points) to win.

Brian Burch, who played inside against Ngongba, said: "He was real tough. He just exploded. He's a great leaper. We didn't want to give him anything easy and didn't mind fouling him."

Loyola sent Ngongba to the foul line 16 times, and the 6-foot-7 Street and Smith's honorable-mention preseason All-American sank 14 of them.

Burch hit two free throws with 18 seconds left to put Loyola up, 69-66.

Jestes tried a three-point attempt with six seconds left, but the ball rolled around the rim and fell out and Ngongba fouled out trying for the rebound.

Jason Vogtman then sealed the win by hitting two free throws.

Loyola fell behind 6-0 when Mount Hebron hit its first two shots -- both three-pointers.

The Dons trailed until Vogtman made two free throws with 5:04 left in the third quarter for a 42-41 lead.

But Ngongba scored the next seven points to put Mount Hebron back on top, 48-42.

Loyola continued to trail until Eric Kruszewski, who guarded Jestes one-on-one full court, hit a three-pointer in the fourth quarter to put the Dons ahead, 55-54.

Loyola went up 59-54 but Tony Giro's steal and layup made it 62-61 in Mount Hebron's favor.

Loyola then sank jumpers from Vogtman, O'Neill and Jared Clelan to go up 67-64. Ngongba's layup with 22 seconds left cut Loyola's lead to 67-66.

"We got everyone involved in the offense in the second half and that's what made the difference," Kruszewski said.

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