Loras breezes past Tip-Off Tournament
By: Jon Quinn
DUBUQUE, IA – The Loras College men’s basketball team won-out the Loras Tip-Off Classic Tournament and are looking to build on their success from last season, where they finished in the sweet-16 for the NCAA Division III National tournament. The wins this week were over teams like Blackburn College (88-75) and Concordia University of Wisconsin (85-65).
The men’s team looked to breeze by their competition and establish dominance by throwing down multiple dunks. Just looking at the offensive statistics as a team for the Blackburn game, Loras out-performed Blackburn in field goal percentage (.483 to .397), 3-point field goal (.375 to .269), free-throw percentage (.741 to .667), and finally rebounds (40 to 26).
However, the Duhawks learned to never doubt the opponent because the Beavers did have the first points on the board — that is, until junior guard Rowan McGowen and sophomore Jordan Boyd knocked down two three-pointers which allowed Loras to snatch the lead and never gave it back. McGowen led the team with 21 points, 15 of which were beyond the arc.
The excitement only grew from there as junior forward Cole Navigato and Boyd sunk back-to-back dunks with 8:30 seconds left in the first half. From there, the team continued to go on an intense run for the remainder of the half, led by senior guard Matt Dacy-Seijo, Navigato, and McGowen. At half, Loras led 47-32.
Blackburn hoped to make a comeback in the second half by starting how they did in the first. They scored a quick lay-up, but the Duhawks quickly responded with scores from Boyd, Navigato, and first-year guard Jake Healy to further the score 53-34. Blackburn attempted to turn up the heat, but similar to the first half, Loras was able to put a stop to the run and come out on top 88-75.
As for Concordia on Nov. 16, Loras outperformed them statistically in almost every category. Field goal percentage (.465 to .406), 3-pointer field goal percentage (.278 to .250), free-throw percentage (.737 to .727), rebounds (42 to 32), turnovers (9 to 14) and steals (9 to 4).
Some underclassman were able to steal the spotlight this game. Sophomore guard Jordan Matthews was the team’s leading scorer this game and added a total of 24 points. In addition, Loras went on a 6-0 run as the time for the first half ticked down. Nonetheless, the Concordia Falcon were persistent, and held the lead at the half 36-34.
The second half sat on a balance beam as both teams went scoreless for the first two minutes until Boyd broke the silence and sprung momentum for the Duhawks to carry them to a 54-45 lead. Loras ended the game on a 9-0 run, and Boyd slammed the final basket home to give the Duhawks the 85-65 victory.
The men’s team will be on the road this Saturday to Duluth, MN, to battle against the College of St. Scholastica at 4 p.m.