Before Monday night, it had been eight years since the Loyola men's basketball team traveled the two miles across Cold Spring Lane to play at Morgan State.
The Greyhounds had also won five consecutive games in the series since 1979. Loyola continued that streak with a physical 73-67 victory, spoiling the Bears' home opener before an announced 2,708.
Loyola's win was also impressive because the Bears are 35-7 at Hill Field House under fifth-year coach Todd Bozeman. Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos was just happy to get a road victory over a team that played in the past two NCAA tournaments.
"Todd gave me some good advice," Patsos said. "He said the league is what matters at the mid-major level. This game gets you ready for the league. This is a guy who won two league championships in a row. Our kids were excited to play this game. We're trying to get where they are at the mid-major level. It was a great game for Baltimore."
Erik Etherly led Loyola with 14points and nine rebounds, while Dylon Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons) added 12points and Jamal Barney (Southwestern) and Robert Olson each had 11. DeWayne Jackson had 19 points for Morgan State, and Kevin Thompson (Walbrook) added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Greyhounds (3-2) led by three at the break and appeared to be pulling away early in the second half. A layup by Etherly gave Loyola its biggest lead, 49-39, with 15 minutes left in the game.
The Bears (2-4) then went on their own run by increasing the tempo. A 3-pointer by Justin Black capped a 14-2 run, and Morgan State regained the lead, 53-52, with 9:48 remaining.
Loyola then played tight man-to-man defense, forcing Morgan State to take off-balance shots. A 3-pointer by Brian Rudolph and a jumper by Etherly gave the Greyhounds a five-point lead with seven minutes left. Barney fouled out two minutes later, and his absence helped Morgan State take a one-point lead on a pair of free throws by Aric Brooks (St. Frances).
Olson was fouled after making a 3-pointer, and the ensuing free throw gave the Greyhounds a three-point lead with 3:41 left. Loyola never trailed again, and an emphatic dunk by Etherly with 12 seconds left sealed the game.
"That was a huge win for us," Olson said. "They're going to be a tournament team. It definitely gets us ready to take on a conference opponent, Saint Peter's, on Thursday."
Said Bozeman: "You have to give [the Greyhounds] credit. They played hard. They were definitely the better team tonight. We are not a good team right now. We have individual pieces. We have to grow up."