The Holy Cross Crusaders used to go into battle with superior weapons--Bob Cousy and Tom Heinsohn, for example.
They invaded Loyola Marymount Wednesday night and found themselves on the receiving end of some high-powered artillery. The result was the most points ever scored against the Crusaders, a 127-104 victory that gave the Lions a four-game winning streak to end a successful homestand.
If the Lions didn’t quite reach guard Corey Gaines’ goal--as he waited to check in at the scorer’s table at one point he admonished his mates, “C’mon baby, we need 150"--they scored enough to break the record against Holy Cross by four points, and increase their scoring average to 110 a game.
Fairfield had scored 123 against Holy Cross in 1977-78.
The Lions now hit the road with a 7-3 record, while Holy Cross returns home 4-5.
Loyola effectively put the game away with spurts at the start of each half keyed by its full-court press.
In fact, believe it or not, Lion Coach Paul Westhead said this game was decided by good defense. “Nonbelievers,” he said, “just have to come see the game. We played very good defense. We shoot the ball so fast the other team gets it back fast.”
The Lions’ bothersome press gave them to a 10-0 lead at the start and another 9-0 run to open the second half. Loyola forced 24 turnovers.
“The scary thing is when (the press) is working it makes it look easy,” Westhead said. “It really isn’t. The points go up so fast it looks like a rollover and it wasn’t. Holy Cross is a really good team.”
But it could have used Cousy and Heinsohn. And maybe Bill Russell.
By intermission, Loyola had set a record for points in a half against Holy Cross. The Lions held a 73-54 lead and already had six players in double figures, led by Jeff Fryer’s 15 and Mike Yoest’s 12.
The Lions’ halftime total--which was nine points better then the old record against Holy Cross by Connecticut in 1977-78--was bolstered by 30 free throws, of which they converted 23.
The Lions scored 10 points before Holy Cross got on the board, and reached a lead of 22 at 40-18. Fryer sparked the early streak, hitting three quick three-pointers and shooting 5 for 5 in the half. Yoest chipped in with 4-for-4 accuracy as the Lions shot 60% in the half including 6 of 9 from three-point range.
Loyola quickly inflated the lead to 28, opening the second half with a 9-0 burst as Fryer hit another three-pointer and Hank Gathers got hot inside. The 82-54 lead was the Lions’ biggest, but the Crusaders never got closer than 91-73 with 12 minutes left.
Gathers finished as Loyola’s scoring leader with 24 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Bo Kimble had 23 points off the bench and Fryer followed with 20 on 7-of-9 shooting (4-of-6 three-pointers). Yoest and Mark Armstrong scored 16 apiece and Gaines had 13 points and 11 assists.
The Lions shot 50.6%, made 32 of 46 free throws and hit 9 of 19 three-pointers.
The lone bright spot for Holy Cross was forward Glenn Tropf, who scored a career-best 28 points.