Loyola falls just short in second round of NAIAs
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The 2018-19 Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball season came to an end on Friday evening at the NAIA National Tournament, as the Wolf Pack fell to Arizona Christian 83-77 at the Municipal Auditorium.
The Firestorm (25-8) struck first from three-point range and would claim a lead for the first eight minutes of play, going up by as many as eight points early at 13-5. The Wolf Pack responded well, however, going on a 13-2 run to grab a 21-15 lead, which would become the sixth seed’s largest advantage of the contest. Arizona Christian would pull back ahead however, with the scoreboard reading 40-36 at the halftime break.
The Firestorm once again built a large lead in the second half, as they opened the period on an 11-4 run to go up 51-40 by the 14-minute mark. But once again, Loyola roared back, tying the game at 54 on a three-pointer from Tre’Von Jasmine at the first media timeout. The last 11 minutes of game time featured eight ties and six lead changes as the teams traded blows. The Firestorm built a six-point 78-72 lead with two minutes left after shooting 9-13 from beyond the arc in the second half, part of their NAIA Championship-record 19 long-range makes.
The buzzer sounded with the score at 83-77, bringing an end to a fantastic season from the Wolf Pack and head coach Stacy Hollowell.
For the second time in the past three seasons, the Wolf Pack surpassed the 20-win mark and qualified for the NAIA Tournament.
Loyola reached the round of 16 at the NAIA National Tournament for the first time since 1946 when they fell in the final four, one season after winning the National Championship.
Zach Wrightsil posted his team-leading 16th double-double of the season, which ranks as the fifth-most in the NAIA, with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while adding six assists.
The freshman made his mark across the single-season record book for Loyola, finishing with the third-most points, second-most assists, and tied for the third-most rebounds.
Myles Burns added a double-double of his own, his 15th this year, after scoring 13 points and grabbing 14 boards, eight of which were offensive.
Burns ends his freshman campaign with the most steals in a single season at Loyola, 85, and tied for the most rebounds in a single year with 319.
You can keep up with the Pack by following Wolf Pack Athletics on Facebook at Facebook.com/LoyolaWolfPack, Twitter and Instagram @LoyolaWolfPack, and by checking out our website at LoyolaWolfPack.com.
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