Hollowell announces 2017-18 Loyola Wolf Pack men’s basketball schedule
Heading into his fourth season, Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball head coach Stacy Hollowell announced the Wolf Pack’s 2017-18 season schedule this afternoon.
Loyola enters the 2017-18 campaign having completed one of the most historic seasons in program history last year. Led by NAIA All-American Honorable Mention Johnny Griffin Jr., the Wolf Pack tallied a 8-2 record to start the season (second-best start in program history) which propelled Loyola into the NAIA Top 25 for just the second time ever as the team landed at No. 22 (highest ranking in modern era) to start the year. The Wolf Pack ended the regular season with 22 victories – marking the second most ever by a Loyola men’s team and just the sixth time ever that the Wolf Pack has reached the 20-plus wins plateau. Loyola’s 22 victories were good enough to land the Wolf Pack at 29th in the NAIA rankings, which sealed an at-large bid into the 2016-17 NAIA National Championship for Hollowell and his squad. The trip to the NAIA DI National Championship snapped a 71-year drought for the Wolf Pack and marked the third time ever that the team had qualified for the big dance.
Individually, Griffin Jr. capped off his senior season by being named a NAIA All-American Honorable Mention, First Team All-SSAC and the 2016-17 SSAC Defensive Player of the Year. Despite only playing two seasons with the maroon and gold, Griffin Jr. left Loyola with the single-season record for total rebounds (319, 2016-17) while ranking sixth all-time in total rebounds (606) and career blocks (68).
Joining Griffin Jr. on the First Team All-SSAC squad was guard Nick Parker (SR/Port Allen, La.) who led the Wolf Pack in scoring last season while ranking inside the top 10 of the SSAC in both total three-pointers made and three-pointers made per game. Senior standout Jalen Gray was selected Second Team All-SSAC in 2016-17, an award he paired with a NABC Honors Court and SSAC All-Academic Team selection. Fellow senior Nate Pierre also earned a spot on the NABC Honors Court and SSAC All-Academic Team while additionally earning a 2016-17 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete award and being named the 2016-17 SSAC Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The Wolf Pack starts the season on the road at SUNO on Oct. 28 before crossing the street to take on Tulane in the annual Battle of Freret Street exhibition on Nov. 2 at 7:00 p.m. Loyola first home contest will be on Nov. 6 at 7:00 p.m. against SUNO prior the Wolf Pack embarking on a three-game road trip at Dillard (Nov. 8), LSU-Alexandria (Nov. 15) and LSU-Shreveport (Nov. 16). The Wolf Pack will welcome Dillard to the Den on Nov. 22 before making the trip to Hammond, Louisiana on Nov. 28 for an exhibition against Southeastern Louisiana University. A look down the rest of the schedule shows an exhibition rematch against Louisiana Lafayette on Dec. 6 along with matchups against Spring Hill on Dec. 8 and Xavier University on both Dec. 16 and Jan. 24. Loyola finished last season with an 8-4 record in non-conference games, highlighted by a 4-1 mark at home.
The Wolf Pack begins SSAC play with four road games at William Carey (Nov. 30) Blue Mountain (Dec. 2), Mobile (Dec. 18) and Middle Georgia State (Jan.3) before returning home on Jan. 4 to welcome Brewton-Parker for Loyola’s conference home opener. Following its matchup against the Barons, the rest of the Wolf Pack’s conference schedule will be comprised of eight games and home and five road contests. Loyola ended the 2016-17 season with a 14-6 mark in SSAC play and advanced to the SSAC Tournament Semifinals where it lost to then-No. 13 William Carey 86-71 in the Multiplex at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama.
The Wolf Pack returns two starters from last year’s historic squad in guards Ethan Turner (JR/Covington, La.) and Parker along with key rotation players Tre’Von Jasmine (JR/Edgard, La.) and Eric Brown (JR/Homer, La.). Joining this core group of talented veterans will be nine newcomers, including six freshman and three transfer athletes.
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