LOYOLA (MD) GREYHOUNDS (20-9)
at IONA GAELS (15-13)
Haynes Athletics Center - New Rochelle, NY
Tip-off: Friday, 11:00 p.m. ET
Line: Iona -5.5
After three straight heart-breaking defeats on the road, Iona returns home Friday night to host a red-hot Loyola (MD) club in search of its fourth straight victory.
The Greyhounds finished the month of February with a 5-1 SU mark (3-3 ATS), including two straight road wins (SU and ATS) at Siena and Tennessee State. Meanwhile, the Gaels just can't buy a break, losing six of their past seven games SU, with all six defeats coming by three points or less. Three of those defeats were overtime losses, including two that went to double-OT. And they have dropped three in a row by a total of four points. But prior to this skid, Iona won at Loyola by a 79-71 score, continuing the win-loss-win-loss-win pattern in the past five meetings between these schools. The Greyhounds have been a solid road wager at 7-4 ATS this season, including 4-2 ATS as a road underdog. The Gaels are 9-1 SU (5-3 ATS) at home this season, but just 6-10 ATS in MAAC play.
Can Iona snap its losing skid with a comfortable win on Friday? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Gary is 3-1 ATS in his past two days to improve to 54.2% ATS (90-76-4) for college basketball Best Bets this season. StatFox Dave went 4-1 ATS on Thursday, and is now 52% ATS (150-140-5) for the season.
Loyola does not have a high-powered offense, as the team scores just 66.9 PPG on 43.1% FG this season, including a dismal 29.9% three-pointers. The way the Greyhounds hang with their opponents is by protecting the ball (11.7 TOPG) and holding teams to 62.9 PPG on 41.4% FG and 30.1% threes. SG Dylon Cormier (17.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG) is Loyola's best player on both ends of the court, as he chalks up 2.04 steals per game. Cormier has averaged 20.3 PPG in the past three contests, and also dumped 18 points on Iona with seven boards when the schools last met on Jan. 27. Senior PF Erik Etherly (15.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG) has also been scoring in bunches with 18.6 PPG in the past five games, including three 20-point efforts. Etherly scored 26 points (10-of-14 FG) with eight boards in Saturday's win at Tennessee State, but was held to eight points on 3-of-12 FG against Iona in January. Senior swingman Robert Olson (12.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG) is the team's only other player scoring at least seven points per game. He's tallied at least 10 points in seven of the past eight contests, posting 16.3 PPG (39% threes) during this stretch that started with 14 points against Iona.
Iona is a lot of fun to watch, as it scores 80.9 PPG (3rd in nation), thanks to 8.8 made three-pointers per game (7th in D-I). The Gaels also help themselves out immensely from the foul line (77.3% FT, 3rd in nation) and also with a strong 1.26 Ast/TO ratio. Senior PG Lamont "Momo" Jones is second in the country in scoring (23.0 PPG), shooting 44% FG and 88% FT, but also dishing out 3.6 APG. Jones scored 23 points at Loyola on Jan. 27, making 11-of-12 free throws. He has been unconscious over his past five games with 28.2 PPG, taking 20.2 field goals per game (45% FG) and 10.4 free throws per contest (83% FT). Sophomore PF David Laury (13.0 PPG, 10.4 RPG) really cleaned up the glass against the Greyhounds in January with 14 rebounds to go along with 10 points and three blocks. He has been strong during Iona's three-game losing skid too, recording 12.3 PPG and 7.3 RPG. Junior PG Sean Armand (17.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.0 APG) played terribly in Saturday's loss at Indiana State with six points on 2-of-10 FG, but had a well-rounded 14 points, four rebounds and four assists before fouling out against Loyola earlier this year. Junior SG Tre Bowman (8.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG) finished with 11 points and five rebounds in that meeting, and flexed his muscles on Saturday with 11 boards in just 25 minutes of action.