After starting the 2014-2015 season with a 17-0 start, just two games shy of the program record for most wins to begin a season, and holding the No. 1 ranking in the national poll for a second-straight week, the University of Indianapolis men’s basketball team suffered two losses in-a-row on the road this past weekend.
Their first loss of the season came this past Thursday, Jan. 29, at the hands of the then No. 20 University of Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers, 72-68, which was followed up by a 70-61 loss this past Saturday, Jan. 31, against the Lewis University Flyers.
Heading into this past weekend, prior to the two losses, Head Men’s Basketball Coach Stan Gouard said that he and his players knew the team needed to be prepared and were expecting to enter a tough road environment for both games.
“We have to understand that we are going to get every team’s best, night in and night out,” he said. “We are going to have to be able to handle it [being ranked No. 1 in the country] mentally.”
Junior guard Jordan Lloyd possessed a mutual feeling heading into this past weekend, and said that the team expected to take care of business, but only if they prepared well in practice leading up to both games. He said the team was looking forward to the test, and that they were aware of the motivation the Greyhounds’ ranking provided the opposition with to pull off the upset.
“It feels like ever since the rankings came out, the games have gotten harder,” he said. “We expect that, and that just means we have to play that much better.”
Against Lewis on Saturday, the Greyhounds had a chance to bounce back from its first loss of the season, and got off to a statistically impressive start in the first half. After trailing 21-18 with 5:59 remaining in the first half, UIndy pulled out in front shortly after, going on an 11-0 run. Heading into the half, the Greyhounds held a four-point advantage, 31-27.
In the second half, after UIndy built its lead to eight points in less than a minute, Lewis responded with a 20-7 run to retake the lead 47-42. UIndy would respond, taking a four-point lead with 8:05 remaining in the game, but after doing so, the Flyers took a 53-51 lead less than a minute later and never looked back, as Lewis held the lead for the remainder of the contest.
The 61 points scored by the Greyhounds was their lowest total of the season, as the Flyers’ defense held UIndy to just 40.7 percent from the field. Despite the team’s low-scoring outcome, senior forward/center Joe Lawson finished the game with his fifth double-double of the season, as he posted 13 points along with 10 rebounds.
As a team, the Greyhounds were outscored in the paint 28-16, and committed 13 turnovers, which turned into 22 points for the Flyers. The Flyers’ bench also contributed 24 points to their victory, while UIndy had just one player in senior guard Kendall Vieke come off the bench to pitch in nine points.
Against Wisconsin-Parkside just a few days earlier in the week, the Greyhounds played a closer game that went down to the wire against the Rangers. After trailing by 14 points with 5:15 remaining in the game, the Greyhounds put together a scoring run that would bring the deficit all the way down to two points with just 17 seconds to go, following a good jumper by Loyd.
With clock management being key in the remaining seconds, the Greyhounds fouled immediately after Loyd’s shot to send the Rangers to the line with 10 seconds remaining. After Wisconsin-Parkside delivered on both free throws, the Greyhounds raced down the court and put the ball in the hands of senior guard Dai-Jon Parker, who put in a layup with six seconds left, bringing the point differential back to two points.
After the layup, another foul was committed by the Greyhounds, sending the opposition to take two more free throws with five seconds remaining. The Rangers remained clutch in the moment, converting both attempts at the free throw line and taking the win by four points, following a turnover by junior guard Lucas Barker on the Greyhounds’ next possession.
The Greyhounds finished the game with four players in double-figure points, led by Loyd, who posted a 22-point scoring performance, making 6-of-7 from the free throw line and going perfect from beyond the arch with four 3-pointers. Senior forward/center Joe Lawson finished with 20 points in total, along with five blocks and six rebounds.
With their unsuccessful road trip behind them, the Greyhounds will look to rebound with a pair of wins this week, when they will return to Nicoson Hall for a pair of conference battles against the University of Missouri-St. Louis Tritons and the Maryville University Saints. The Greyhounds will do battle with the Tritons at 7:45 p.m. tomorrow evening, Feb. 5, and will return to host the Saints this Saturday, Feb. 7, with that game set to begin at 3:15 p.m.
Last season, the Greyhounds defeated both the Tritons and Saints handily in the regular season on the road. In its previous matchup with the Tritons, UIndy won by a total of 79-58, while against the Saints the Greyhounds won 94-71. UIndy will be favored once again this season, as the Tritons and Saints will enter with records of 4-4 and 2-6 on the road, respectively, compared to the Greyhounds who are still a perfect 10-0 on their home court in Nicoson Hall.