NEW ORLEANS – The Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team just keeps winning.

Thursday against Blue Mountain Christian University, the Wolf Pack held on for the 64-60 win to improve their overall record to 14-2 and their Southern States Athletic Conference mark to 9-0.

The win was also the program’s 26th straight victory over SSAC competition and its 22nd straight win at home to continue two impressive streaks. 

The two teams played a tightly contested first half, but the Wolf Pack was able to push ahead a little late to take a 33-26 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play. 

Zach Muller and Milan Mejia got the Wolf Pack off to a 4-0 start, but the Toppers were able to take their first lead moments later, 7-6. Muller flipped the lead back in Loyola’s favor with an and-1 opportunity, but the game became tied at 11-all four-plus minutes into the game. Although there was a long lull, Loyola pushed hard by four, 15-11, after Jalen Galloway’s first points and free throws by Bradley Alcime

Blue Mountain would go on to tie the game and then take a 17-15 lead with more than eight minutes left until halftime, but Galloway tied the game, 20-20, to spark a run for Loyola. The Pack scored 10 straight thanks to eight points from Galloway and a fastbreak score by Alex Hammond. In the final minute, Mejia answered a BMCU 3-pointer with a 3 of his own, 31-23, but the Toppers did make another 3 before time expired. 

The second half started slow for both teams with four combined fouls, five combined points and five combined turnovers in the first three minutes. Muller was able to counter the sloppy start with five quick points, including a 3-pointer, 40-29, and Galloway and Michael Harden each made shots to make it a 13-0 Loyola run, 48-29. Loyola’s defense was strong during that span, too, only allowing the Toppers to score three points in the first eight minutes of the half. 
 

Blue Mountain answered Loyola’s run with a 15-0 run to cut the deficit to 48-43 with nine minutes to play. Cameron Williams’ first career point finally ended a five-minute scoring drought, and Muller and Harden quickly made it a double-digit game again, 53-43, with two points each. The two teams traded points during the next couple of minutes, which was highlighted by a tough old-fashioned 3-point play from Galloway to take a 58-49 lead with 2:36 left. 
 BMCU wouldn’t go away though, hitting a 3-pointer and a fastbreak score less than a minute later, 60-56. With it still a four-point game at the one-minute mark, Blue Mountain got a fadeaway shot to fall, 63-60, and a Loyola turnover with 11 seconds on the clock. A missed shot by the visitors and a Williams free throw sealed the game, however. 

Pack Facts

  • Loyola is now 16-1 in its series with Blue Mountain, winning its last eight games against the Toppers.
  • Atop the SSAC standings, Loyola has the only undefeated team in the conference at 9-0. Every other team in the league has at least three losses. 
  • Jalen Galloway had a monster game against the Toppers, finishing with 25 points, 20 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. All of those stats either were a game high or tied for a team high in the game. He was also 13-of-15 at the free throw line. 
  • This was the first 20-20 double-double for a Wolf Pack player since Zach Wrightsil put up 24 points and 21 rebounds against Science and Arts (Okla.) on Nov. 21, 2021. 
  • Zach Muller was the other player in double digits for the Pack, pouring in 16 points. 
  • Cameron Williams made his Wolf Pack debut, scoring two points with five rebounds, two steals, and an assist in 15 minutes.
  • In the game’s final seconds of his first game, Williams grabbed a defensive rebound and hit a free throw to seal the win.

{Courtesy: Loyola Athletics}