After splitting a pair of Great Lakes Valley Conference games the previous week on the road, the University of Indianapolis men’s basketball team returned to Nicoson Hall on Jan. 20 for a matchup with the Saint Joseph’s College Pumas, winning 118-85.
The Greyhounds had a rocky start in the first half, trailing 10-4 early. But they instantly responded, taking the lead 16-15 with 14:10 remaining. Midway through the half, the Greyhounds found their first double-digit lead of the game, 32-22, following a 3-pointer by junior guard Kendall Vieke. The Greyhounds would maintain that double digit lead for the majority of the rest of the half, and at the break UIndy led 54-42.
According to Head Men’s Basketball Coach Stan Gouard, a timeout following the slow start was what fixed the Greyhounds’ early issues. Gouard said that after a long weekend on the road against two nationally ranked opponents, it took the players a few minutes to regain focus against the Pumas.
“The guys were tired, and that’s to be expected,” he said. “At the end of the day, our guys finally woke up, played good basketball and came out victorious.”
In the second half, UIndy continued its scoring attack, never allowing the Pumas to pull within single digits throughout the remainder of the game. Following a 3-pointer by newly added redshirt sophomore guard Jordan Loyd, the Greyhounds extended their lead to 37 points, its largest total, at the 2:41 mark. Gouard said he has enjoyed the immediate impact Loyd has made, since transferring to UIndy prior to the start of the new semester.
“It [Loyd’s performance on the court] helps us out a lot, especially coming off of three games in five days and being able to play him 20 minutes a night,” he said. “It [his ability to step in quickly] says a lot about him as a player, because he is a student of the game.”
The Greyhounds finished the contest against the Pumas with 65 bench points. Although Loyd provided 15 of those points, the most significant contributor off the bench for the night was senior guard Jared Grady, who put up 19 points. Grady not only led the bench in points but the team overall for the first time this season.
After only averaging 5.4 points per game last season, Grady has continued to be a significant contributor off the bench this season averaging 10.3 points per game. Grady said that his increased comfort level with the team’s system has contributed significantly to his improvement this season and that last season he was “trying to get the feel of things,” after coming back off an injury the year before.
With players such as Grady and Loyd contributing off the bench, the Greyhounds have added depth to a program that already returns four out of five starters from last year’s national tournament team. The Greyhounds appear poised for another successful run deep into March.
After claiming a victory on the road though an 81-79 upset of then nationally ranked No. 2 Bellarmine University, Gouard said he believes the team, which has a 13-2 overall standing, has finally started to establish its identity and reach its potential.
The Greyhounds will look to improve their record this evening on the road against the University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars. The game will get underway at 8:30 p.m.