Posted On: 11/29/18 8:30 AM
Last night, Loyola hosted St. Maria Goretti in an interesting BCL match-up. After Goretti separated themselves in the second and third quarter, Loyola made a late game push, but it wasn’t enough. Goretti escaped with a 64-56 win to improve their record to 5-0. With the loss, Loyola moves to 3-2 overall.
Another strong performance from RJ Blakney
Blakney finished with a game-high 20 points. He was vital in growing their lead to 17 points in the second and third quarter, where 13 of his 20 points were scored. The 6-foot-5 wing had a handful of strong finishes above the rim and in the fourth quarter, hit a big three to help keep his team out of range. Blakney was also impressive crashing the defensive glass. In their full court press, he had multiple steals as the recover man sprinting back to fix the defense.
Connor Hepting with a tough performance
Hepting went down early in the first quarter with a head injury after hitting the floor on a lay up attempt. The senior wouldn’t return until the third quarter, and when he did, he made his presence felt immediately. He scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half. Without Hepting on the floor, things went array for Loyola. As the point guard, he provides a combination of play making and a calmness to the floor for the Dons.
Abdou Tsimbila was a force inside
Tsimbila had a rough first quarter with three traveling violations. I’ve seen Tsimbila multiple times this season, and he has a bad habit of catching the ball on the block, taking one or two dribbles, taking a gather step and then a hop. From that point forward, Tsimbila fixed his footwork issue by being a roll man on screens, getting the catch and immediately rising up for over the rim finishes. Nine of his 16 points came in the second half. Tsimbila was an elite shot blocking presence throughout the course of the game. He and Blakney controlled the glass on the defensive end as well, limiting the Dons to many one-shot possessions.
Jordan Moore brings energy off the bench
Moore was fresh off making impressive plays on the football field against Calvert Hall in the Turkey Bowl. The sophomore guard came off the bench and provided energy for the Dons, especially when Hepting went down. Moore is a quick, crafty guard who is an effective slasher. He also converted on a couple of three’s on his way to 12 points. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Moore work his way into the starting lineup in the near future.
Goretti’s pressure defense helped set the tone
Goretti came out from the start in a man-to-man defense. Off the ball, they were denying any pass, which disrupted Loyola’s halfcourt offense. The Dons have to get the ball to the wing to initiate their motion offense, and when Goretti took that pass away, they got startled. Goretti also capitalized off of their 1-2-2 trap press. Loyola would do a good job breaking the initial trap, but got sped up once they were in the halfcourt and tried to fit the ball in tight windows, which resulted in turnovers and steals.