NEW YORK - Loyola's losing streak was enough to make Shane James sick.
The freshman point guard, who had been the only Greyhound to start each of the team's first 16 games this season, opened last night's game at Manhattan on the bench because of a two-day bout with a stomach flu.
He entered the lineup four minutes into the game, but by then the Jaspers already had a 19-4 lead on the way to a 96-63 romp.
The loss was Loyola's 30th in a row over the past two seasons, the longest current streak in NCAA men's Division I. It also made the Greyhounds 0-17 this season, tying the worst start in school history, in 1982-83. The 30 losses are three short of tying Grambling's all-time NCAA Division I-record losing streak.
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference leader Manhattan (13-3) has an eight-game winning streak, has started its league season 8-0 for the first time, and has won nine in a row over Loyola (0-8 MAAC) in a five-year period.
All that was missing at Manhattan's Draddy Gym was actual streakers. The weather was too cold for that, barely colder than the Greyhounds were in trying to bring the ball upcourt against the Jaspers' press.
To say James, who played just 14 minutes and scored two points, was a non-factor wouldn't be correct. His absence made a profound difference.
Manhattan came out pressing to open the first half, and closed it the same way.
Jamaal Dixon, making just his second start this season in James' place, had seven of his eight turnovers in the first half, before Jaspers coach Bobby Gonzalez called off his press. Dixon, who re-sprained his left thumb last night, is expected to play tomorrow at Fairfield.
"We missed Shane a whole lot," said Charlie Bell, who led the Greyhounds with 17 points. "Whenever you lose your point guard, you lose your leader."
Said Loyola coach Scott Hicks: "Shane's last three games have been great, and he's one of our primary ballhandlers. He hadn't practiced the last two days because he had diarrhea, and he was vomiting. We hope to have him back Sunday, and we hope Lindbergh Chatman can play for the first time in five weeks. Our body count has been low."
Hicks knew all week that the injured Chatman and Michael Tuck would be game-time decisions - the decision was "no go" - but Loyola didn't need the burden of playing most of the game without James. With him at no more than half speed, the seven players available were more like 6 1/2 players.
Bell noted that by saying: "We only had six players, so they threw the press at us early. Manhattan has a great team anyway, and they got a lot of turnovers."
That press rolled up an early 26-6 lead that didn't grow too much until the final four minutes, when the Jaspers reapplied their press and took a 60-23 halftime lead.
Gonzalez didn't feel he had to apologize for pressing even with an advantage of more than 30 points.
"No, I'm going to be a good guy and not press the whole game like some coaches would do," he said. "And I'm going to substitute four minutes into the game."
Hicks agreed, saying: "Bobby played a lot of people. He wasn't being unsportsmanlike. I've got no beef with Bobby."
Gonzalez said he could empathize with Hicks' plight.
"It's situational. He's had a lot of injuries, and maybe there were problems recruiting," he said. "He's a good coach, and he's going to win a game. I hope it's before they set that negative record."
LOYOLA - Allen 2-7 0-0 6, Chivers 4-5 1-2 9, Nijaradze 1-4 2-2 4, Dixon 3-7 8-11 14, Bell 7-15 1-3 17, James 0-2 2-2 2, Corrigan 4-11 0-2 11. Totals 21-51 14-22 63. MANHATTAN - Holmes 2-4 0-0 5, Konovelchick 3-5 0-0 8, Ngarndi 6-8 0-0 12, Flores 6-13 2-2 15, Wingate 1-4 0-0 3, Gatling 3-8 1-1 8, Minor 2-4 0-0 5, C. Johnson 2-4 1-4 5, Enescu 2-4 0-0 4, D. Johnson 0-2 1-2 1, Mulligan 11-16 5-5 28, Benton 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 39-75 10-14 96. Half - Manhattan, 60-23. 3-point goals - Loyola 7-15 (Allen 2-3, Dixon 0-1, Bell 2-4, James 0-1, Corrigan 3-6), Manhattan 8-19 (Holmes 1-2, Konovelchick 2-2, Flores 1-2, Wingate 1-2, Gatling 1-4, Minor 1-3, D. Johnson 0-1, Mulligan 1-3). Fouled out - None. Rebounds - Loyola 33 (Chivers 6), Manhattan 37 (Ngarndi 9). Assists - Loyola 10 (Nijaradze 3), Manhattan 18 (Minor 4). A - 1,413.
Rising in futility
Loyola's 30-game losing streak is tied for the third longest in NCAA history for Division I men's basketball:
No. Team Dates
33 Grambling 12/6/99-12/16/00
32 Cal St.-Sac. 12/6/93-12/28/94
30 Loyola 1/23/03-present
30 The Citadel 1/16/54-12/12/55
30 Prairie View 2/25/91-12/5/92
29 UMass 1/26/79-2/1/80