WASHINGTON — Sa'eed Nelson had a chance at a buzzer-beater but Loyola's Andre Walker blocked the three-pointer to give the Greyhounds a 68-66 win over American on Friday evening to open Patriot League play at Bender Arena.
American falls to 3-9 overall and 0-1 in the PL while Loyola's win sends them to 7-5 on the season and 1-0 in the league.
Nelson led all scorers with 22 points on 8-of-13 from the field. This was the seventh game this season that Nelson played all 40 minutes. Mark Gasperini had another solid performance in the paint and finished with 18 points and five rebounds. Delante Jones added 11 points but fouled out in 33 minutes.
The Eagles shot 53 percent from the floor and made 12-of-19 at the line.
Jarred Jones led the Greyhounds with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Walker contributed 18 points and seven assists and had the final defensive stop for the visitors. Cam Gregory had 13 for Loyola and was perfect 5-of-5 from the field.
The Greyhounds shot 57 percent from the field and connected on 15-of-19 from the charity stripe.
Loyola held the lead for the entire first half and went into the locker room ahead 33-29. Nelson had the Eagles within one (22-21) after a layup at 7:55.
In the second, American tied the game at 52-all after a three by Delante Jones. The Greyhounds answered with a 7-0 run and took a 10-point lead, 66-56, after a pair of free throws by Chancellor Barnard at 1:43.
American battled back on a 9-2, holding the Greyhounds to a pair of free throws by Jones.
Charlie Jones hit the backend of a pair to cut the game to a single possession. Loyola's chance to increase the lead was stopped by a Gasperini block and rebound.
The Eagles called timeout with seven seconds left. Nelson drove up the lane and took the desperation shot which was blocked to end the contest.
American will continue Patriot League play when the calendar flips to 2017 on Monday afternoon at Colgate. The tip is set for 2 p.m. on the Patriot League Network.
Loyola Press Conference With head coach Mike Brennan and Charlie Jones
Loyola (Md.) at American Postgame Highlights