The Maroon

Men’s basketball reflects on national tournament

Brian Wollitz

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After making the national tournament for the first time in 71-years, the men’s basketball team strives for future success after falling in the first round.

The Wolf Pack traveled to Kansas City, Missouri and faced No. 1 ranked William Penn Statesman in the tournament, but lost 100-78. Loyola was unable to overcome the physical game and was out-rebounded by William Penn 56-31.

Despite the loss, Hollowell said it was a good test for the team.

“Our guys played a solid first half, although we allowed far too many rebounds. They hit shots early in the second half and the ones they missed they cleaned up with rebound put backs. The second half was very physical and it was good for our guys to see the amount of contact that is allowed in the tournament,” Hollowell said.

While in Kansas City, Hollowell said the team did a community service project promoting the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Champions of Character Initiative when they arrived on
March 13.

The team also sampled some of the city’s famous barbecue and toured the College Basketball Hall of Fame and the College Basketball Experience, an interactive center with different games, courts, historic info and memorabilia.

Johnny Griffin Jr. business senior and combo guard and forward, said the opportunity of going to the national tournament was something great for the program.

“I think Kansas City is a great city. The tournament was a great experience for us. I think it gives the guys coming back some motivation to want to go back next year now that they’ve had that experience. They know what it’s like and I think they’ll be well prepared for next year,” Griffin said.

Griffin also believes the team has the potential to achieve bigger things in the future.

“I hope each year that they keep getting better and keep making it farther in the tournament and one day winning a conference outright and getting a ring,” Griffin said.

Griffin said he is proudest about the way his teammates carried themselves off the court this year.

“We know we were friends on the court but off the court we’re all like brothers,” Griffin said.

That camaraderie that Griffin talked about will have to be rebuilt.

However, Hollowell has already started the process in replacing his senior talent.

“We’ve made contact with some guys we really like and hope to bring in a class that is as good as the one we are graduating,” Hollowell said.

With the season over, Hollowell sets his eyes on next season. Currently he has set goals for his players as they shift their focus to the classroom and into the offseason.

“We are looking for our guys to finish up well in the classroom. Our guys need to add strength in the off-season and come back looking to build on this year’s success,” Hollowell said.

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About the Writer
Brian Wollitz, Sports Editor
Brian Wollitz is a junior at Loyola studying mass communication with a focus in journalism and a minor in music industry studies. Outside of the Maroon, Brian plays rugby for Loyola as well as playing keyboards and singing in his band Tight Squeeze, back home in Pacifica, California. Contact: [email protected] or @brian_wollitz
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Men’s basketball reflects on national tournament