Collins again boosts Loyola

THE BALTIMORE SUN

In the first half of Loyola's game against Niagara last night, Greyhounds guard Andre Collins hardly looked like he should be mentioned in the same sentence as Gonzaga's Adam Morrison.

But Collins, whose 26.9-point average entering the game trailed only Morrison nationally, put on a blistering scoring display early in the second half to carry the Greyhounds to an 82-70 win before 2,512 at Reitz Arena.

Collins finished with 28 points, and Michael Tuck added a career-high 22 points and 11 rebounds for Loyola (8-3, 2-1 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference). Hassan Fofana added 10 points and 12 rebounds in his Reitz Arena debut.

Charron Fisher scored 22 to lead Niagara (3-8, 0-3), which lost for the eighth time in nine games.

Held to just four points in the first half on 2-for-10 shooting, Collins scored Loyola's first 15 points of the second half - all in the first 3 1/2 minutes - to break the game open. He hit two three-pointers 35 seconds apart, and later made a pair of free throws that capped a 15-2 run and gave the Greyhounds a 50-33 lead with 16:30 left.

"This game is 40 minutes," said Collins, who had topped the 30-point mark in the previous three games. Early in the second half, he said, "Niagara lost me a couple of times, and once I hit my first shot, I just got into a rhythm. I didn't think I was going to miss."

Said Niagara coach Joe Mihalich: "He's as good as anybody in the league, if not better."

Niagara used a 10-0 run to cut Loyola's lead to 65-60 with 4:19 left, but Tuck countered with a pair of layups, and the Purple Eagles never seriously threatened thereafter. With the 6-foot-10 Fofana clogging the lane against a team with no one taller than 6-7, Niagara tried to win from the perimeter, but the Purple Eagles made just six of 29 three-pointers.

In the first half, Niagara's 2-3 zone defense neutralized Collins, whose few open perimeter shots rimmed out.

One Greyhounds possession summed up the half. Collins missed on a three-pointer from the corner, but Tuck was there for the put-back to give Loyola an 11-7 lead. Tuck scored 12 in the first half as Loyola took a 35-31 halftime lead.

The Greyhounds, who never trailed, also got a lift from little-used guard Greg Manning, who had appeared in just four games and had scored three points all season. He hit a pair of first-half three-pointers, including one from the top of the key that gave the Greyhounds a 35-27 lead.

NIAGARA - Mathis 1-5 6-8 8, Duffey 3-7 4-4 10, Miles 4-17 1-2 11, Hodge 1-3 0-0 3, Fisher 6-19 8-10 22, Durosier 4-6 0-0 9, Brown 3-6 0-0 6, Noel 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 22-63 20-26 70. LOYOLA - Fofana 3-6 4-6 10, Tuck 10-17 2-3 22, Collins 9-21 6-6 28, Stanback 1-3 1-2 4, James 1-3 2-2 4, Hinds 0-0 0-0 0, Sullivan 0-0 0-0 0, Manning 2-2 0-0 6, Wright 0-0 0-0 0, Farrell 2-3 0-0 4, Alujevic 1-4 2-2 4. Totals 29-59 17-21 82. Halftime-Loyola, 35-31. 3-point goals-Niagara 6-29 (Fisher 2-8, Miles 2-10, Durosier 1-2, Hodge 1-2, Brown 0-1, Mathis 0-2, Duffey 0-4), Loyola 7-18 (Collins 4-10, Manning 2-2, Stanback 1-3, Alujevic 0-1, Tuck 0-1, Farrell 0-1). Fouled out-Fisher, Fofana. Rebounds-Niagara 35 (Fisher 11), Loyola 42 (Fofana 12). Assists-Niagara 10 (Miles 6), Loyola 18 (Collins 6). Total fouls-Niagara 18, Loyola 17. A-2,512.

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