Loyola College returned to Reitz Arena last night after winning three straight games on the road, but it was Bo Larragan who made himself feel right at home.
It was an important victory for the Red Foxes (13-8, 6-7), who lost five straight after the NCAA declared 6-foot-9 forward Tomasz Cielbak, one of their key players, ineligible because he played for a club team in his native Poland.
And it continued a strange season for Loyola, which won, 81-69, at Marist only eight days ago, but goes on struggling on its own territory.
"This was really disappointing," said Greyhounds coach Dino Gaudio after his team's seventh defeat in 10 home games. "We have a court advantage here, but we really don't have a home-court advantage. We're not winning here, so people don't come to see us."
Loyola (9-12, 3-10) was without forward Brian Carroll, who has been playing -- or trying to -- for several weeks with a stress fracture in his foot. He sat out the entire game.
"It's part of the game," said Gaudio. "They didn't have Tomasz, either."
Larragan, from Spain, and backcourt mate Bobby Joe Hatton, from Puerto Rico, were virtually unstoppable in the first seven minutes as Marist rolled to a 23-8 lead while Loyola labored with its shooting and ball-handling.
"I'm a senior who's been through all the tough times and I have six games left to play," said Larragan. "So I'm trying to bring a lot of emotion to every game. I kind of felt it early."
With Jason Rowe, their All-MAAC point guard, and Blanchard Hurd carrying the load, the Greyhounds withstood the blitz and pulled into a tie at 37 just before Hatton sank two free throws to give Marist a two-point edge at the half.
Center Thomas Kenney did most of the damage in the second half as Marist eased ahead by as many as eight before Loyola countered to take its first lead at 65-63 on a little hook shot by Hurd after a nice pass from Rowe.
Larragan and Rowe (29 points, eight rebounds, five assists) traded threes before the Greyhounds tossed away the ball on a long sideline pass when they had a chance to take a four- or five-point lead.
Hatton then hit a three to counter a Rowe jumper and, when Larragan scored on a conventional three-point play, the Red Foxes never looked back.
"This was very disappointing," said Gaudio. "We know Bo is a great shooter and we had a No. 5 [Larragan's number] to follow in practice. And we know Bobby Joe is going to drive on us, but we couldn't stop him much, either."
MARIST -- McCurdy 0-5 0-0 0, Samuels 1-7 0-0 2, Kenney 7-11 3-4 17, Larragan 8-11 8-8 29, Hatton 6-15 3-3 17, Smith 4-8 1-3 9, Hastings 0-1 2-2 2, Vale 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 27-62 17-20 78.
LOYOLA -- Hurd 6-14 3-4 15, Strong 2-4 2-3 6, Platt 2-5 1-2 5, Rowe 11-19 5-6 29, Walker 1-6 0-0 3, Blosser 3-4 0-0 9, Jenifer 0-4 1-2 1, Nasiou 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 26-58 12-17 70.
Halftime--Marist 39-37. 3-point goals--M 7-12 (Larragan 5-6, Hatton 2-5, Smith 0-1). LC 6-16 (Rowe 2-6, Walker 1-6, Blosser 3-4). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--M 30 (Kenney 9), LC 40 (Hurd 10). Assists--M 13 (Hatton 6), LC 13 (Rowe 5). Total fouls--M 16, LC 17. A--1,000.
Wesley 62, Villa Julie 57: Kim Smith had a game-high 19 points to lead the Wolverines (10-10) over the host Mustangs (8-10).
Villa Julie's Amanda Foster led all scorers with 20.
Pub Date: 2/06/99