Jimmy Patsos' vocal cords clearly had a rough night last night. Midway through the second half of Loyola's game against Iona, Patsos' usually powerful, booming New England snarl had been reduced to a raspy whisper.
It didn't stop him from continuing to yell -- even a technical foul for grumbling at the referees didn't silence him -- but all the screaming and ranting in the world probably wouldn't have helped the Greyhounds last night as Loyola dropped its sixth straight game, falling to Iona, 101-85, in front of 1,977 at Reitz Arena.
The Greyhounds did their best to make it competitive, but for the most part, it wasn't. The Gaels jumped out to a 20-2 lead in the first seven minutes of the contest, and despite an impassioned, vocal pleading from both Patsos and Loyola senior guard Andre Collins, the Greyhounds never could claw their way back into it.
Iona (17-5, 11-3 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) shot 60 percent from the field and had six players in double figures, led by Steve Burtt, who led all scorers with 30. The 101 points scored by the Gaels were the most Iona has scored in six years, and the most the Greyhounds have given up this season.
"When we're sharing the ball, we're pretty good offensively," said Iona coach Jeff Ruland. "We were pretty focused. We lost here last year, and we've lost a couple games at home that we shouldn't have. It took us a little while to realize that if we want a bye [in the MAAC postseason tournament] there is no room for error."
Patsos talked to his team behind closed doors for nearly 40 minutes after the game, but emerged from the locker room sounding upbeat and positive, insisting that he wasn't disappointed with his team's effort.
Loyola (11-11, 5-9) did outscore Iona 52-47 in the second half, a statistic Patsos tried to emphasize.
"We're 11-11 right now," Patsos said, pointing out that the program was 1-27 two years ago. "We're very proud of where the program is at right now. ... We haven't played well lately, but I never saw anything built easy."
Collins, who came into the game averaging 26.9 points a game, finished with 20, but he had to work for every one of them. Iona guard Marvin McCullough hounded him the length of the court on every possession, forcing Collins to use two and sometimes three screens each possession just to get an open look.
Marquis Sullivan and Brad Farrell each stepped up and scored 18 to ease some of Collins' burden, but Loyola's main problem against the Gaels was defense. The Greyhounds found themselves out of position often, and were forced to foul to guard against easy layups, leading to a 48-14 deficit in free-throw attempts.
The Greyhounds host Saint Peter's on Saturday in a game that will be televised on ESPN2.
IONA--Springer 3-4 7-10 13, Wachsmann 4-9 6-8 14, McCullough 3-6 3-4 11, Soliver 5-9 9-10 21, Burtt 9-11 9-14 30, Bruin 5-5 0-0 10, Marshall 0-2 0-0 0, Jackson 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 29-48 36-48 101. LOYOLA--Wright 0-3 0-0 0, Alujevic 3-3 2-2 9, Collins 8-28 2-2 20, James 2-3 0-0 5, Farrell 8-10 2-5 18, Stanback 0-1 0-0 0, Hinds 1-3 0-0 2, Sullivan 7-11 1-1 18, Manning 0-0 2-2 2, Khaleel 1-1 0-0 2, Fofana 3-5 1-2 7, Tuck 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 34-71 10-14 85. Halftime--Iona 54-33. 3-point goals--Iona 7-11 (Burtt 3-3, McCullough 2-3, Soliver 2-3, Marshall 0-1, Jackson 0-1), Loyola 7-20 (Sullivan 3-7, Collins 2-9, Alujevic 1-1, James 1-1, Tuck 0-1, Stanback 0-1). Fouled out--Hinds. Rebounds--Iona 34 (Bruin, Soliver 6), Loyola 28 (Tuck, Wright 5). Assists--Iona 19 (McCullough 6), Loyola 10 (Collins 4). Total fouls--Iona 15, Loyola 29. A--1,977.