The Navy Midshipmen are down to their final few regular season games. Tonight, they get one more…
Second Basketball Scouting Report: Loyola-MD
Navy lost its leading scorer much earlier in this college basketball season, and for a different reason, but the Loyola (Maryland) Greyhounds can now look at Navy and remark, "Aha – so this is what it's like to lose our top scoring threat. Yikes." Navy lost Tilman Dunbar due to disciplinary issues. In the first week of February, Loyola lost leading scorer Dylon Cormier due to a fractured left hand. Two shorthanded teams with little playmaking potency will try to carve out a win before the Patriot League Tournament.
LOYOLA (MARYLAND) AT-A-GLANCE
The reality can't be any more plain for the Greyhounds and head coach G.G. Smith. A team that was playing (roughly) .500 ball in the Patriot League with Cormier fell apart after the injury to the senior guard. This shouldn't be surprising at all. Loyola's second-best scorer averages 8.3 points per game. Cormier averaged 21.2 at the time of his injury. You do the math.
Loyola has lost six games in a row, scoring more than 60 points only once. This is an uncomplicated a pregame scouting report as you're going to see, because Loyola is now very much in the same boat Navy's occupied for multiple months.
Forward – Jordan Latham – Senior, 6-9, 243; 2013-14: 7.5 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game, 1.3 blocked shots per game
Latham has remained a solid interior defender throughout this season. Loyola has to win with its defense, so on that level, Latham gives the team what it needs. However, the Greyhounds just don't get enough offense from any non-Cormier source, and that's their big problem going forward.
Forward – Franz Rassman – Sophomore, 6-9, 224; 2013-14: 5.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Rassman continues to be a serviceable grunt guy for this team, but the Greyhounds need something more than that if they're going to win games in Cormier's absence.
Guard – R.J. Williams – Senior, 6-3, 184; 2013-14: 8.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.8 assists per game, 2.2 steals per game
Williams is taking Cormier's place in the Loyola starting five. He plays defense as well as Cormier did, but the offense and rebounding are just not there – it's as simple as that. Players have to carry more of the load to lift this team, and that just hasn't happened over the past three and a half weeks.
Guard – Eric Laster – Sophomore, 6-6, 195; 2013-14: 8.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.1 assists per game
Laster is a 40.7-percent three-point shooter. He doesn't score much, but he has to look for his shot… and Navy needs to be ready to defend it.
Guard – Denzel Brito – Junior, 6-2, 202; 2013-14: 3.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Brito has replaced fellow guard Tyler Hubbard in the Greyhounds' starting lineup. Guard Jarred Jones is now joining Hubbard as a primary reserve in an unplanned seven-man rotation. Loyola is trying to piece together a lineup at this point, and the results have not been pretty.
Keys to the Game
1) Possessions – get more of them. Fewer turnovers, more offensive rebounds. In a game that should be dominated by defense, this is the central key on both sides, not just Navy's.
2) Win the free throw battle. When two struggling offenses meet, foul shots often turn out to be the difference.