NEW ORLEANS – It came down to the last regular-season game of the season, but the No. 14 Loyola Wolf Pack claimed the Southern States Athletic Conference Regular-Season title for the second straight year on Saturday with an 83-76 win over Life University.

The win in The Den on Senior Day makes the Pack 21-6 overall and they ended the regular season with a 16-4 mark in SSAC play. 

Loyola will be the No. 1 seed in next week’s SSAC Championship, and it’ll play the winner of No. 8 Middle Georgia and No. 9 Talladega on Thursday at 2:15 p.m.

Beginning the first half, Loyola started seniors Eddie BurgessLuke LadnerAndrew StagniZach Muller, and Josh Tolbert in celebration of Senior Day. Burgess put up the Pack’s first points from a free throw. A jumper from Burgess put Loyola in the lead and two Tolbert free throws made it 5-2 with 17:09 on the clock. Like their matchup against Dalton State, the Pack struggled with turnovers, getting 14 in the second half. 

With 5:47 remaining in the first half, Life took a 12-point lead, 31-19. In the remaining minutes of the half, Loyola clawed back into the contest, as a Mondesir steal and score made the score 33-26, Life. A Tolbert jumper, two free throws from Jalen Galloway, and a Zach Muller score off a pass from Michael Harden ended the half at a five-point deficit, 37-32.

The first score for the Pack in the second half was a 3-pointer from Milan Mejia, now 35-37. Another Mejia 3-pointer, assisted by Matthew Mondesir, gave Loyola the lead they needed with 17:54 to go. It was a constant battle in the second half with Life looking to take the lead back, but the Wolf Pack never relented. An 8-0 run, created by a Galloway 3, a Leonard Jackson jumper, and a Michael Harden 3, put Loyola ahead, 59-50, with over 11 minutes left. 

The Wolf Pack kept extending their lead, gaining an 11-point lead from two Harden free throws with two minutes left, 81-70. Loyola shut down any chance for Life to come back into the contest and claimed victory over the Running Eagles, 83-76.

With only 32 points in the first half, the Pack’s offense let loose in the second half, scoring 51 points. In the second half, Loyola shot at a higher clip from the perimeter than from the field, hitting seven 3.

Pack Facts

  • This was Loyola’s second consecutive SSAC regular season title. 
  • On senior night, six seniors scored, and 11 different players scored for the Pack. 
  • Jalen Galloway and Michael Harden led the way in scoring for Loyola with 16 points apiece. 
  • Harden also dished out a game-high five assists. 
  • Zach Muller was third on the team with 14 points. He’s scored in double figures twice this season. 
  • Milan Mejia, who nabbed a game-high three steals, also scored in double figures with 13. 
  • Mejia was 4-of-6 from the field, all three-pointers. He made as many threes as the entirety of Life’s team, which was 4-of-10. 
  • Matthew Mondesir led the team in rebounds (5) and blocks (3). His three blocks were a new season high for a Wolf Pack player. 

{Courtesy: Loyola Athletics}