Loyola College used a history lesson and the most explosive player in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to end a two-game losing streak last night, beating visiting Canisius, 77-74, to regain a share of first place.
Gerald Brown, who had a game-high 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting, was coming off a rotten weekend up North, where the Greyhounds dropped two games and he picked up a cold.
The lost weekend led coach Jimmy Patsos to tell his basketball team about his experiences as a Maryland assistant in 2001, when the Terps recovered from a pair of brutal losses to Duke and Florida State to reach their first Final Four.
That motivation wasn't as vital as Brown, the leading scorer in the MAAC, scored nine straight for the Greyhounds just as their best January ever in the conference appeared ready to unravel into a blown 13-point lead and an 0-3 February.
Loyola was down 67-63 before Brown (Douglass) scored in transition, then on a three-point play with 3:59 left that put the Greyhounds ahead to stay and later on a pair of jump shots.
"After last weekend," Brown said, "we had to make a statement."
Marquis Sullivan had 16 points and Omari Isreal had 12 points and 10 rebounds, his third double double in the past six games.
After leading the MAAC for several weeks, Loyola (14-10, 10-4) regained a share of the top spot with preseason favorite Marist. Canisius (11-13, 6-8) had won five of its previous seven.
Patsos was subdued until he got his 10th technical of the season with 11:43 remaining. It helped the Griffins score six straight points and take a 57-52 lead, but the Greyhounds responded with some urgency.
"We're on the road every single weekend in New York, and I wonder why Gerald is sick," Patsos said. "I wanted a timeout to give my best player [Brown] some rest, but I got a technical."
The Griffins had a 50-30 rebounding edge and got 28 points from Darnell Wilson, a senior forward from Michigan who played for Patsos on a MAAC all-star team that toured China in the summer of 2005.
Loyola made seven of its first eight shots and four of its first five three-pointers while bolting to a 17-4 lead. The Greyhounds, however, began to stand around at the offensive end and lose track of Wilson at the other, as Canisius went on a 9-0 run and eventually led 31-30.
It was the first game this season the Greyhounds approached full strength, as second-leading rebounder Michael Tuck returned after missing five games with a severely sprained ankle and 6-foot-10 junior Hassan Fofana played for the first time since Dec. 10. Both played sparingly.
Fofana fractured a foot warming up at High Point on Dec. 22, when Isreal, a Notre Dame transfer, made his Loyola debut.
CANISIUS-Wilson 13-21 2-4 28, Harris 5-16 2-2 16, Turner 2-12 4-4 8, Herring 3-11 0-0 7, Robinson 2-6 1-3 5, a'Nyan 1-5 1-4 3, Johnson 1-1 1-3 3, James 0-2 2-2 2, Malesa 1-3 0-0 2, Starling 0-0 0-0 0, Benson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-77 13-22 74. LOYOLA-Brown 11-18 5-8 29, Sullivan 6-12 0-0 16, Isreal 5-7 2-4 12, Alujevix 5-6 0-1 11, Harvey 1-7 3-4 5, James 2-4 0-0 4, Wright 0-0 0-0 0. Fofana 0-0 0-1 0, Tuck 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-54 10-18 77. Half-Tied 36-36. 3-point goals-Canisius 5-25 (Harris 4-13, Herring 1-6, Turner 0-2, Robinson 0-2, Malesa 0-2, Loyola 7-19 (Sullivan 4-8, Brown 2-5, Alujevic 1-1, James 0-1. Fouled out-Herring, Alujevic. Rebounds-Canisius 50 (Wilson 11), Loyola 30 (Isreal 10). Assists-Canisius 12 (Harris 5), Loyola 17 (Harvey 7). Total fouls-Canisius 20, Loyola 18. A-2,897.