Mount St. Mary's wears down Loyola Maryland in 74-65 win

Jake Rill
Contact ReporterBaltimore Sun Media Group
In the most-played college basketball rivalry in Maryland, Mount St. Mary's beat Loyola.

Loyola sprinted up and down the floor, shot one 3-pointer after another, and tried to use a high-tempo offense to win Saturday night at Reitz Arena.

But that's also how Mount St. Mary's plays. And the Mountaineers did it just a little bit better.

In the most-played college basketball rivalry in Maryland, Mount St. Mary's topped the Greyhounds, 74-65, improving to 98-72 in the all-time series.

"We just didn't defend. The Mount wanted it more than us and I thought they played harder than us," Loyola coach G.G. Smith said. "They didn't do anything we didn't expect, we just didn't handle it very well."

Sophomore guard Byron Ashe led the Mountaineers (2-4) with 16 points on 5-for-10 shooting, including 4-for-5 from behind the 3-point arc.

The Greyhounds' offense relied heavily on 3-point shooting, and they did it well, shooting 11-for-19 from long-range. But that didn't offset defnese that Smith called abysmal.

The Mount shot 51.9 percent from the field, including 7-for-17 on 3-pointers.

"We made 11 3's and we lost," Smith said. "How many times does that happen in a game? Not very much. That means you're playing poor defense. We've got to get better defensively, we've got to get back to the basics."

Tyler Hubbard and Eric Laster each scored 14 points for Loyola (3-5) and Cam Gregory added 11 and 10 rebounds.

Mount St. Mary's began to distance itself from Loyola during the second half, mostly by going inside. The Mountaineers had a stretch of 6-for-7 shooting, with five of those makes coming in the paint, capped by a two-handed dunk from Taylor Danaher that put the Mount up 55-45 with 10:17 to go.

But Loyola responded, as Denzel Brito and Franz Rassman hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to cut the Mount's lead to 57-55 with 7:30 to go. Ashe, however, hit a 3 on the ensuing possession, Khalid Nwandu scored five points in a 10-second stretch, and the Mountaineers finished off their sixth-straight win against Patriot League opponents.

"Our goal was to play a complete game," Mount coach Jamion Christian said. "I thought we did that in terms of being unselfish and doing the little things it took to win."

The game started with a fast pace, as both the Greyhounds and Mountaineers were running the floor and shooting 3-pointers. Mount forward Gregory Graves drilled a 3 from the top of the key to tie the game, 9-9, just over three minutes in.

With 15:59 to go in the first half, Hubbard made a 3 to give Loyola a 12-9 lead. But just 17 seconds later, Ashe answered with a 3 of his own to tie it back up, 12-12.

Both teams slowed offensively after Graves made a layup to put the Mount up, 16-15, with 13:55 remaining in the first half. The Mountaineers made just one of their next seven shots and had a trio of turnovers as they trailed the Greyhounds 21-19 with 7:27 to go in the opening half.

The play of the game came on a missed 3-pointer by Will Miller 3:40 before the break. As Miller's shot bounced upward off the rim, Ashe leaped into the air and slammed the ball into the net as it was coming back down.

That sparked a 9-6 run that put the Mountaineers up 35-30 at the half, the largest lead of the game to that point.

The Mount used a full-court press the whole game, leading to 11 steals and 14 forced turnovers that helped keep the momentum in its favor throughout.

"I feel like we really wore them down as the game went on, just pushing them off their spots," Christian said. "That's one of our goals. If we can't turn you over, we want to wear you down. We were able to do a little bit of both."

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