The Maroon

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Wolfpack Basketball’s first season loss in den

General+Studies+sophomore+Robert+Lovaglio+battles+it+out+during+the+Loyola+game+against+Shorter+University+Friday+Dec.+2.+This+was+Loyola%27s+first+lost+in+The+Den+with+a+final+score+of+82-59.
General Studies sophomore Robert Lovaglio battles it out during the Loyola game against Shorter University Friday Dec. 2. This was Loyola's first lost in The Den with a final score of 82-59.

General Studies sophomore Robert Lovaglio battles it out during the Loyola game against Shorter University Friday Dec. 2. This was Loyola's first lost in The Den with a final score of 82-59.

Chika John/

Chika John/

General Studies sophomore Robert Lovaglio battles it out during the Loyola game against Shorter University Friday Dec. 2. This was Loyola's first lost in The Den with a final score of 82-59.

CRAIG MALVEAUX

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Loyola played scrappy.

They threw blow after blow at undefeated Shorter College — the pre-season number one ranked Southern States Athletic Conference team — on their way to a three-point halftime lead.

But eventually, Loyola wore themselves out. Shorter regained its balance, saw an opening and countered with knockout swing, collapsing Loyola 82-59 Friday.

“We just couldn’t stop the avalanche,” said head coach Michael Giorlando . “It was one after another and then Shorter started hitting outside shots and added more salt to the wounds.”

Shorter guard Eric Nix led all scorers with 20 points. Their bench chipped in 31 Hawk points while Loyola’s Robert Lovaglio, general studies sophomore, scored a team high 16.

Loyola lost for the first time at home and dropped to 1-2 on the season against Southern States Athletic Conference opponents. The loss spoiled biology senior Corey Gray’s historical night, which cemented his name in Loyola history books after eclipsing 1,000 career points.

“It was a game of two halves. In the first half, I thought we played real smart. They followed the game plan real well,” Giorlando said. “We played under control and controlled the tempo of the game. Defensively, we knew our responsibilities.”

In the second half, both Loyola (6-3) and Shorter (8-0) got off to a slow start. They combined for four turnovers and a dozen missed field goals before matching each other point for point, bringing the score to 49-48 with just over 10 minutes to play. Following a timeout, the Hawks poured on the offense from everywhere. They shot from beyond the arc, scored in the paint and pulled up for easy jump shots en route to a 20-8 run.

“They picked up their defense, which led to some turnovers and some more offensive opportunities for them,” Lovaglio said. “It was our fault. We just lost our focus, it got a little hectic and didn’t play smart basketball the last ten minutes of the game.”

Lovaglio ended a four-minute scoring drought for the Wolfpack cutting the deficit to 68-57 at the 4:45 mark. It didn’t matter. Shorter continued their offensive onslaught.

“We had a chance to get it back under 10, but we missed some opportunities, some shots and then we started pressing. The game just got away from us,” Giorlando said. “Their intensity and rebounding overwhelmed our team.”

A field goal and two free throws extended Shorter’s cushion to 20 points at the 2:45 mark. Loyola mustered only a few more buckets the rest of the way.

Craig Malveaux can be reached at [email protected]

 

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