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Tuszynski's three-point play propels Wolfpack to best start in 55 years

November 21, 2008

Wolfpack junior forward Nick Tuszynski scored a lay-up with 31 seconds remaining while being fouled and hit the ensuing free throw to push the Wolfpack to a 78-77 win over the Philander Smith Panthers Tuesday night at The Den. The victory pushed the Wolfpack record to 4-0 for the first time since the 1953-54 season.

Neither team got into an offensive rhythm until midway through the first half when a Corey Gray deep ball with 10:30 left started a 22-11 Wolfpack run that culminated with a Robert Manson basket and one that gave Loyola a 37-26 lead with 2:45 left before the break.

The Panthers cut the Wolfpack advantage to 37-33 when Tommy Bozeman made one of two free throws with a minute left before half. Darrinton Moncrieffe scored on the ensuing possession to push the lead back up to 39-33 at the horn.

Philander Smith scored seven of the second half’s first nine points and a Bozeman basket two and a half minutes into the second half cut the Loyola lead to 41-40.

The Wolfpack responded by scoring eight of the next nine points with a Ryan Brock basket at the 15:00 mark pushing the advantage back up to 49-41.

From there, the Panthers went on a 22-10 run that gave Philander Smith their first lead since the first half. Stephen Murdock capped the run with a three-pointer to give the Panthers a 63-59 lead with 8:30 to play in the game.

The rest of the way, there were seven lead changes and four ties leading up to Tuszynski’s lay-in with 31 seconds left, while fouled by Tommy Bozeman, that tied the game at 77. Tuszynski nailed the free throw to make it 78-77 Wolfpack.

Ryan Brock stole the ball from Bobby Green on Philander Smith’s ensuing possession, but Sean Bennett lost it out of bounds to give the Panthers one more shot at the win. Kevin Moore’s desperation three with a second left hit the side of the rim and bounded away for the Wolfpack win.

Said Loyola head coach Dr. Michael Giorlando, “Offensively we did a really nice job, we had six guys in double digits. Torry Beaulieu had a nice game running the team, with six assists and one turnover. The thing we have to improve on is getting stops, not trading buckets; that’s going to be our point of emphasis this week. Nick Tuszynski did a nice job as well, but defensively as a team we need to get better.”

The Wolfpack are 4-0 for the first time since Tom Haggerty and Jim McCafferty guided Loyola to a 5-0 start in the 1953-54 season. Ryan Brock led the Wolfpack offense with 17 points. Sean Bennett put up 13 points and collected five assists. Corey Gray added 11 points. Nick Tuszynski, Darrinton Moncrieffe and Torry Beaulieu each had 10 points in the contest. Moncrieffe’s 10 points was a career high and his nine rebounds also tied a career high. He blocked three Panther shots. Beaulieu had a game high six assists. Loyola shot 43.9 percent from the field (29 of 66).

The Panthers (0-7) got a double-double from Tommy Bozeman in the form of a couple of game highs, 30 points and 12 rebounds. Stephen Murdock dropped in 21 points while Kevin Green, who gave Philander Smith the lead prior to Tuszynski’s three point play, finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. Philander Smith hit on 41.2 percent of their shots (28 of 68) in the game.

The Wolfpack will host the Millsaps Majors at 7 p.m. Saturday at The Den.

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