Pains me what I'm about to write, but the fact of the matter is, that right now, Loyola is a better basketball team than the Mount. But that didn't make Saturday night any easier.
Loyola bested the Mount 79-57, essentially sewing up the win by halftime. The Greyhounds outscored the Mount 40-18 in those first 20 minutes. The Mount showed some life after the break, but never got the lead below double figures.
The first half was really a combination of two problems for the Mount. The fact that they shot so poorly, meant they didn't score. But it also meant they couldn't set up the press that has been so beneficial the beginning part of the season.
And without that. The Mount appeared lost. And as the three-pointers continued to miss, the deficit continued to build. I remember at one timeout (I believe the second media timeout) the Mount trailed by only a score of 11-7. At that point, I thought that the Mount was lucky to only be down four points. It got worse from there. Loyola which had slumbered through the first minutes, came to life and before you knew it, it was 33-9.
Credit to the Mount and the coaching staff for not packing it up and heading for home. They fought on from that point and fueled by a big second half from Kristijan Krajina, who played only 2 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, really established himself. The junior had all of his14 points after the break.
Loyola was led by Robert Olson, who can't graduate too soon. He's like the player is baseball that always has a good series against you, so you trade for him. Olson is a nice player, but he's an All-American against the Mount.
But it was the first poor effort of the season from the Mount. And from what they've shown us this year, we still have to be happy with the development.
Still Saturday night showed us that when the Mount fails to score from the perimeter, it's going to affect not only its offensive performance but that carries over to the defensive end as well because they can't set up the press.
Indiana awaits on Wednesday.