Just when it looked as if the Loyola Greyhounds were primed to turn the corner, they again last night hit the proverbial brick wall.
Loyola shot 35 percent from the field and 58 percent from the foul line, rallying late only to come up short in a 72-65 loss to Manhattan before an announced 1,512 at Reitz Arena. It was the team's second straight loss after a season-high six-game winning streak.
"That's two times in a row I just didn't think emotionally or mentally we were ready to play," Greyhounds coach Jimmy Patsos said. "I have to figure out why my young team didn't want to."
After trailing by 12 in the second half, Loyola made a strong run late in the game, pulling within a point on Brett Harvey's three-pointer after a turnover with 1:22 left.
Manhattan, however, sealed the win when Jamel Ferguson found Chris Smith on a half-court inbounds pass and Smith finished with a dunk and completed the three-point play with 21 seconds left.
"Our big mistake the past two games is our youth," Patsos said. "There's only one way to cure that, and that's to be patient."
The loss dropped Loyola (11-14) into sixth place in the 10-team Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference at 6-7. Manhattan (13-10, 7-6) ended its three-game losing streak against Loyola.
For much of this night, the Greyhounds were their own worst enemy, hitting just 18 of 31 foul shots and getting outscored 32-18 at the line. While the hosts struggled mightily, the Jaspers flourished, hitting all but five of their free throws.
"A lot of that's contagious," Manhattan coach Barry Rohrssen said. "Once you miss one, then maybe the next guy misses one. We were just very fortunate tonight that they were able to hit them. That's probably the highest we've shot free throws this season."
Smith and center Laurence Jolicoeur led Manhattan with 19 and 17 points, respectively, including a combined 20-for-20 at the line.
"Why didn't they make free throws tonight? I don't know," Patsos said. "Our future is bright. We're just young."
Reserve guard Marquis Sullivan (Archbishop Spalding) scored 15 to lead four players in double figures for Loyola.
Sophomore Jamal Barney (Southwestern), who scored a game-high 21 points in Loyola's tight road win over the Jaspers last month, made just four of 19 shots, finishing with 12 points.