Loyola feels pain as streak is over

When Loyola College junior guard Gerald Brown's 25-foot jumper caromed off the back of the iron as time expired last night, leaving the Greyhounds to digest a 70-68 loss to Manhattan before 2,011 at Reitz Arena, an evening full of frustration was complete.

This had been a chance for Loyola (11-8, 7-2) to validate its place atop the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings. But the Greyhounds, sporting a seven-game league winning streak and off to their best start in conference play since joining the MAAC in 1989, could not close the deal against one of the league's perennial powers.


It didn't help that junior forward Michael Tuck, the team's second-leading scorer and top rebounder and shot blocker, was out with a severely sprained ankle he suffered in practice Tuesday.

And it surely didn't help that Brown, the early favorite to win MAAC Player of the Year honors, was never on his game. Poor shooting from the start and foul trouble throughout the second half led to his season-low nine-point effort.


Still, the Greyhounds, who received inspired efforts from numerous others - especially junior forward Omari Isreal - had a chance to win after slogging through much of the second half against Manhattan's slowdown, milk-the-shot-clock tempo before staging a late comeback from a 68-61 deficit.

But when Jaspers freshman guard Antoine Pearson (game-high 18 points) made two free throws with 2.1 seconds left - after a questionable foul call in the lane on Isreal - Manhattan (10-9, 7-2) had made its statement.

Six weeks after getting whipped by 19 points at home by Loyola, Manhattan won its seventh game in eight tries and pulled into first place in the MAAC with the Greyhounds and Marist.

"For our school, to be in first place for one day is really a great accomplishment," Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos said. "It's difficult to be in first place, and we'll learn there are certain expectations that come with that, and you have to handle being a first-place team. You have to handle success."

Give the Greyhounds credit for battling on a night on which they shot 37.9 percent and could never sustain an offensive run. Isreal scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, both career highs. Sophomore guard Marquis Sullivan (15 points) and senior forward Josko Alujevic (13 points) helped Loyola gain a 35-33 edge at halftime.

But Manhattan, which made 15 of 16 foul shots in the second half, opened that half with a 10-1 run to take a 43-36 lead, while Brown was drawing three of his four second-half fouls. Loyola did not lead again until Sullivan hit an 18-foot baseliner for 55-53 with 7:21 left.

But the Jaspers soon went on a 9-2 run that included six points from Pearson and a huge three-pointer from freshman guard Patrick Bouli to give Manhattan a 68-61 lead with two minutes left.

Back charged Loyola. Freshman guard Brett Harvey made two free throws, then hit a three from the right corner to make it 68-66. Then, with 25 seconds left, senior guard Shane James scored to tie it at 68, but failed to convert a three-point play that would have given the Greyhounds the lead.


Pearson did the rest.

MANHATTAN-Austin 2-9 2-2 7, Dubois 6-12 3-3 15, Ngarndi 3-7 2-2 8, Pearson 3-9 10-10 18, Crawford 2-4 0-0 4, Traore 0-0 0-0 0, V.Jackson 0-1 0-0 0, Bouli 2-7 0-0 6, Ferguson 0-1 2-6 2, Adams 2-3 6-8 10. Totals 20-53 25-31 70. LOYOLA-Isreal 7-18 0-2 14, Alujevic 5-8 2-4 13, Brown 2-12 4-6 9, Harvey 1-5 6-6 9, Sullivan 5-12 2-2 15, Manning 0-0 0-0 0, Gaetani 0-0 0-0 0, James 2-3 4-6 8, Wright 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-58 18-26 68. Half-Loyola, 35-33. 3-point goals-Manhattan 5-11 (Bouli 2-3, Pearson 2-3, Austin 1-3, Ferguson 0-1, V.Jackson 0-1), Loyola 6-20 (Sullivan 3-9, Alujevic 1-3, Harvey 1-3, Brown 1-4, James 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Manhattan 31 (Bouli, Dubois 6), Loyola 37 (Isreal 11). Assists-Manhattan 11 (Austin, Bouli 3), Loyola 12 (Brown 5). Total fouls-Manhattan 25, Loyola 24. A-2,011.