(New Orleans, La.) – The Loyola University men’s basketball team came into Montgomery, Ala. for day one of a three-day journey to claim the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) title. The team matched up with the No. 5 seeded Faulkner University, a team that has played well in their home state of Alabama against the Wolf Pack.
Both teams battled late into the night, but Loyola used five players in double figures, including 18 second-half points from Tre’Von Jasmine to overcome the Eagles 92-79 in the quarterfinals on Thursday night.
The No. 4-seed Wolf Pack will now look to face top-seeded William Carey College tomorrow, a matchup that they split in the regular season series 1-1.
Things looked out of sync for Loyola in the early going. A three pointer by the Eagle’s Logan Jozwiak gave his team the early 12-2 cushion four minutes into the match up.
The Wolf Pack would chip into the deficit over the next four minutes. A three pointer by Ethan Turner cut the lead to 17-12 at the 13:48 mark of the first half.
Faulkner led 27-20 at the 9:13 mark of the contest until a three pointer drilled in by Eric Brown brough the team to within four at 27-23 over the next 15 seconds of play.
The score was 34-26 when Johnny Griffin Jr. decided to take over. The senior forward had his hands in eight of the next nine points over the final four minutes of the first half.
Brown capped off his 11-point first half with another three to trim the deficit to just four (42-38) heading into intermission.
Loyola shot just 37.6% (12-of-32) from the field and connected on 33% (6-of-18) from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.
Griffin Jr. and Brown combined for 24 of the team’s 38 first half points, with Griffin Jr. tallying 13 and Brown scoring 11 of the bench to lead the Wolf Pack.
Loyola trailed 50-46 at the 16:38 mark of the second half until Jasmine went on a personal 7-0 run for his team to put them on top 53-50 over the next two minutes of action.
Jalen Gray increased the lead to seven at 57-50 after banking in a layup off the glass on the fastbreak at the 13:53 mark of the ballgame.
Jasmine once again would strike again for Loyola, first knocking down a three from the wing then scoring on a layup in the paint to cap off a 16-0 run by the Wolf Pack and increasing the lead to 62-50 at the 12:34 mark of the game.
Back-to-back triples by Faulkner trimmed the deficit back to six but Brown’s three pointer from the corner put Loyola back on top at 65-56 down the stretch of the game.
With 2:02 remaining in the final frame, Faulkner trailed by eight (84-76) but looked to make one final push.
Parker crushed the Eagle’s hopes of mounting a comeback by draining a corner three pointer off the feed from Griffin Jr. to put the Wolf Pack on top 87-76.
Griffin Jr. put the finishing touches on the game with a two-handed jam on the break to put Faulkner out of reach at 91-78 with only 44 seconds left on the game clock.
Loyola eventually soared past the Eagles 92-79 in the quarterfinals behind stellar play from its reserves and starting unit.
The Wolf Pack shot a sizzling 20-of-29 (69%) in the second half and 52.5% (32-of-61) for the game. The team also connected on 10-of-24 shooting (41.7%) from beyond the arc and a solid 18-of-23 (78.3%) from the charity stripe.
Griffin Jr. led five players in double figures with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Jasmine scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half and Brown chipped in 14 points off the bench. Parker dished out nine assists and pulled down seven rebounds to go along with his seven points in the quarterfinals victory.
Following the victory, Loyola improves to 22-8 on the year. The Wolf Pack’s 22 wins thus far are tied for the second most in program history and highest number since 1946.
The men’s squad won’t celebrate the win over Faulkner for long as the team will look to prepare for William Carey in the SSAC semifinals tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m.