Loyola senior guard Andre Collins stresses to his teammates that a basketball game is 40 minutes long, and the Greyhounds needed every one of them last night.
The Greyhounds erased an eight-point deficit in the final 3:18, closing the game with a 16-2 run to escape with a 77-71 win over High Point before 2,450 at Reitz Arena.
Collins scored 31 points to lead Loyola (13-12), which won for the second time in its past nine games despite shooting a season-low 35.9 percent from the field.
Justin Dunn scored 21 off the bench to lead High Point (13-11), which was visiting Loyola as part of the BracketBusters event, which matches teams with similar power ratings. A handful of the 50 games from yesterday and today are being televised on the ESPN networks.
The Panthers, of the Big South Conference, were without coach Bart Lundy, who was serving a one-game suspension because of an eligibility violation involving a player.
But in the closing minutes, the Panthers were also missing their composure. High Point committed three turnovers in a span of just over a minute late in the game, and Loyola converted those into seven points.
The Greyhounds sealed the win after Akeem Scott was whistled for an intentional foul after raking his hand across Collins' face with two seconds left.
After a turnover by High Point's Arizona Reid, Loyola took a 70-69 lead on a short jumper by Michael Tuck with 56.9 seconds left. Landon Quick lost the ball in the lane on the Panthers' next possession, and Collins converted a three-point play at the other end for a 73-69 lead with 26 seconds left.
Said Collins: "We stepped it up at the defensive end, we got loose balls, got rebounds and starting hitting shots. This game is 40 minutes long. We were down at halftime, but halftime is just 20 minutes of the game, and we still got 20 minutes to turn things around. That's how we approach things."
High Point made nine of its first 13 shots to jump to a 23-15 lead. When the Panthers weren't getting easy layups against Loyola pressure, they were hitting open shots from the perimeter.
High Point made seven of 11 three-pointers in the first half in a display that surely would have pleased one of its most famous alums, Kentucky coach Tubby Smith.
High Point took its largest lead at 42-31 on a three-pointer by Reid with eight seconds left in the half, but Collins countered with a 30-footer at the buzzer.
Loyola took its first lead at 50-49 with 11:25 left when Brad Farrell converted a three-point play on a three-on-one break. High Point answered, and three-pointers by Troy Bowen and Issa Konare 26 seconds apart gave the Panthers a 57-50 lead.
"We're grinding toward our goal, which is our first winning season since [1993-94]," Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos said. "Tonight was a big step. We're not there, but it's a step in the right direction."
HIGH POINT-Reid 7-16 0-0 15, Minnis 0-1 0-0 0, Jefferson 1-8 6-7 9, Scott 2-6 2-2 7, Bowen 1-2 0-0 3, Crowder 2-2 0-0 6, Konare 3-3 0-0 8, Quick 1-3 0-0 2, Dunn 8-13 2-2 21. Totals 25-54 10-11 71. LOYOLA-Farrell 3-6 5-5 11, Fofana 6-11 2-5 14, Collins 9-18 8-9 31, Sullivan 1-9 0-0 3, James 1-4 4-4 6, Stanback 0-4 0-0 0, Manning 0-4 0-0 0, Goggin 0-0 0-0 0, Alujevic 2-5 1-1 6, Tuck 1-3 4-6 6. Totals 23-64 24-30 77. Halftime-High Point 42-34. 3-point goals-High Point 11-21 (Dunn 3-4, Konare 2-2, Crowder 2-2, Reid 1-1, Bowen 1-1, Scott 1-4, Jefferson 1-6, Quick 0-1), Loyola 7-24 (Collins 5-9, Alujevic 1-3, Sullivan 1-7, Tuck 0-1, Manning 0-2, Stanback 0-2). Fouled out-Scott. Rebounds-High Point 29 (Reid 7), Loyola 43 (Fofana 11). Assists-High Point 15 (Quick 6), Loyola 11 (Collins 4). Total fouls-High Point 21, Loyola 13. A-2,450.