Many of the Greyhounds' fans got up and paraded out of Reitz Arena in the final two minutes of the game while their team was still in the fight against Siena College before losing to the Saints, 86-78.
The surprising exodus obviously didn't help Loyola's comeback hopes down the stretch, and the home team fell to 0-8 in the MAAC and 5-10 overall with its seventh straight loss. It is the worst league start for the Greyhounds in 11 years in the MAAC.
Loyola junior forward Blanchard Hurd said it hurt to see many of the fans walk out when the going got tough. But, he said, "You can't blame them. The thing is, it's partially up to us to prevent them from leaving by playing a lot better. The same things every game keep beating us."
But Milford Mill's Hurd believes there is still hope for Loyola to turn around this dismal season.
"I'll never think we're a bad team," he said. "We need to come together now more than ever. We still have to believe we can peak for the MAAC tournament."
Loyola coach Dino Gaudio said: "The fans are far from our biggest problem. We are playing not to lose and just can't get over the top. In our last three games before tonight, we were ever so close to winning in the final four minutes against Rider, Iona and Canisius but it just didn't happen."
Last night against Siena (15-2, 6-2), Loyola again flirted with victory as it built a 46-36 lead by halftime.
But the 'Hounds came unglued in the opening minutes of the second half amid a barrage of Siena three-pointers.
The Saints went on a 27-7 run for a 63-53 lead with 10: 18 left in the game, hitting five three-pointers to send the home team into a funk.
Sophomore guard Scott Knapp hit three of the big shots from beyond the arc in the first 10 minutes of the second half and junior forward Jim Cantamessa tossed in two of the key threes. Knapp finished with 23 points to lead the winners, but game-high scoring honors went to Loyola' Jason Rowe (25 points).
However, Rowe committed five turnovers and missed some big shots. He entered the game with a 20.6 scoring average and a nation-leading 4.1 steals a game and continues to be the player his teammates look to.
But it seems as if Loyola players are standing around too often and waiting for Rowe to do too much instead of going out and playing their own game.
"Sometimes we do depend on Jason for too many things," Hurd said.
An old nemesis, poor free-throw shooting at crucial times, rose up last night and hurt Loyola's chances. The Greyhounds hit just 12-for-23 from the line and were also guilty of some poor shot selection in the second half.
"All these problems will end when we want them to," Gaudio said.
SIENA -- Cantamessa 3-8 6-8 15, Osinski 6-11 6-9 19, Deters 2-2 0-1 5, Knapp 7-13 4-4 23, Faison 4-11 3-6 12, Stewart 1-6 1-1 3, Archbold 0-3 1-1 3, Ogburn 0-1 0-0 0, Clinton 3-7 2-4 8, Taylor 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 26-62 23-35 86.
LOYOLA -- Carroll 1-6 0-0 2, Hurd 6-12 3-4 15, Platt 6-15 1-4 13, Jenifer 5-10 1-4 11, Rowe 10-15 4-5 25, Blosser 1-4 1-2 4, Nasiou 0-0 0-0 0, Adams 2-4 1-2 7, Strong 0-1 1-2 1, Walker 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 31-69 12-23 78.
Halftime--Loyola, 46-36. 3-point goals--S 1-3 (Thompson 1-2, Fields 0-1); L 4-11 (Barnett 3-8, Grant 1-2, Dillard 0-1). Rebounds--S 45 (Fields 9); L 38 (Bradley 11). Assists--S 11 (Leggett, Moss 3); L 9 (Grant 4). Fouled out--Dillard. Total fouls--S 19, L 23. A--152.
Pub Date: 1/22/99