Manhattan (8-16, 3-11 MAAC) really struggled on Saturday in a 62-56 loss. Loyola (12-12, 5-9) did not play especially well on offense, but poor execution by the Jaspers, especially down the stretch, allowed the Greyhounds to walk away with a win.
For the second straight game, Rico Pickett, the MAAC's leading scorer, was not in the starting lineup. Pickett would appear at the first TV timeout and would still play 30 minutes.
The first half was close the whole way, with the largest lead being 18-12 in favor of Loyola with just over eight minutes left. Manhattan took their first lead with 10:04 left on a Rico Pickett layup. After the Jaspers lost their small lead, they came back to take a 26-22 lead on a Rico Pickett dunk late in the first half. Loyola finished the half on an 8-2 run to take a 30-28 lead into halftime.
Rico Pickett scored 15 points in the first half, and scored the final eight points of the half for the Jaspers.
The second half remained close from the beginning. Manhattan found a tiny bit of breathing room as a Mohammed Koita three-pointer gave the Jaspers a 41-36 lead.
Following the three-pointer, Loyola went on a 7-2 run to tie the game at 43. A Jamal Barney and-one with 5:39 left gave Loyola their first lead since the beginning of the second half. Barney converted the free throw and Loyola led 48-46.
After Mohammed Koita missed a jumper and a long rebound went out to Robert Olson, a turning point of the game occurred. Loyola's Julius Brooks was already most of the way down the court and Andrew Gabriel lackadaisically ran back down the court. When Olson passed ahead to Brooks, Gabriel made an effort to make a late defensive play, but just fouled Brooks as he converted a two-handed flush. Brooks made the free throw and Loyola went up 51-47 with 4:25 left.
Manhattan stayed within four entering the final minute. The Jaspers have struggled all season to execute down the stretch. There was plenty of time to drive to the hoop or at least work for a good three-pointer. Instead, Patrick Bouli, one of the worst three-point shooters on Manhattan, ran up the floor and chucked up a long three. Bouli's three-pointer was no where close and Tony Lewis grabbed the rebound.
Robert Olson made two free throws with 45 seconds left to just about put the game away. A split pair of free throws by Brian Rudolph gave Loyola 62-56 victory.
Loyola had a balanced scoring attack on Sunday, with every player who played scoring at least four points. Seven players scored at least seven points.
Shane Walker recorded his third double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Walker also had three blocks. Jawaan Wright had eight points and five rebounds off the bench.
Julius Brooks, Brett Harvey, Robert Olson, and Jamal Barney each scored seven points. Robert Olson scored five points in the final two minutes.
Brian Rudolph had a solid all-around performance with six points, five rebounds, and six assists.
Manhattan managed to out-rebound Loyola 40-38, despite losing.
Darryl Crawford and Rico Pickett led the Jaspers with 19 apiece. Crawford had 10 rebounds, three steals, and three blocks. Pickett scored 15 of his 19 in the first half. He was not too aggressive in the second half.
Mohammed Koita scored nine points on 3-of-9 shooting. The freshman guard also grabbed five rebounds.
Freshman George Beamon scored four points coming off a career-high 13 point performance against Marist.
The best news that can be taken out of this game for Manhattan fans is that Djibril Coulibaly could possibly be turning into a solid big man. Despite only scoring two points, Coulibaly had seven rebounds and has looked much better in Manhattan's last few games. Coulibaly was able to catch the ball in the post, a quality that a Manhattan big man has not had in a while.
Manhattan continued to appear to have poor team unity. Most of the players walked up and down the court and looked like they did not want to play every time Loyola scored. At least nobody lost their temper and picked up a technical foul.
Manhattan did not come out for second half warmups until 1:30 left until the start of the second half. I did not see one Jasper with a happy look on his face.
Loyola plays their next game at home against St. Peter's (14-10, 9-5).
Manhattan goes back on the road to play against the rival Iona Gaels (18-7, 10-4).