CHALK TALK NEWS
Feb 12, 2012 posted by Josh Angulo-Bartlett
Jimmy Patsos can flat out coach. The head man for the Loyola Greyhounds hoops squad has guided the best Maryland based program going to the cusp of not only a MAAC crown, but more importantly a guaranteed ticket to the big dance. That’s right, that little Catholic school along Charles Street can ball and is closing in on entering the biggest stage March has to offer.The Hounds (19-5, 12-2) are in this fortuitous position thanks to the beat-down that took place Friday night at Reitz Arena. Inspired by the school’s first ever hoops sellout, Patsos’ boys jumped on the Gaels from Iona early and often racing out to 17-point halftime lead behind junior forward Erik Etherly and Cardinal Gibbons own Dylon Cormier (who just might be the player of the year in the conference as a sophomore).
That lead mushroomed to an absurd 25-point one shortly after recess as the Hounds looked to blow the Gaels back to New York before the final gun. But Iona is good (beat Maryland handily earlier this season) and didn’t let that happen as they closed the gap to 6 with under 5 minutes to play. But junior guard Bobby Olson, who chipped in 13 points, made one of the biggest plays in the game as the former tennis star retrieved an errant pass like he was Megatron and was fouled in the process. He hit one of two free throws which seemed to stem the tide and sent the Loyola faithful to their local Friday night watering hole (if of age) to continue the celebration.
With a rising RPI of 79 and 4 winnable games on the slate (Fairfield today at Reitz, Marist, Boston U and Rider) next up, you should be hearing plenty of coach Patsos on the local radio airways as he campaigns like he’s running for office. Except his message is based in truth and passion, which in hoop circles, carries plenty of weight.
But the big question lingering over the Charles Street campus is can this program that in 2004 was 6-22 in Patsos 1st season and 1-27 the year before handle the success? Can the players hold off on reading all the press clippings and focus on the rest of the season? Because as great as this season has already been for the Hounds, there is probably only the automatic bid (winning the conference tournament) coming from this mid-major so it behooves the Hounds to get the #1-seed and therefore secure the home-court advantage in the MAAC Tournament to ensure themselves the best opportunity to punch their ticket. And based on the crowd at Reitz on Friday night, I don’t think they will be alone!