Loyola-Maryland rookie coach G.G. Smith hopes to show he is up to the task of replacing his former boss, Jimmy Patsos. With two nail-biting wins in hostile gyms in Upstate New York, the former Georgia guard is off to an impressive start.
On Sunday in Ithaca, N.Y., Loyola toppled Cornell 93-89 in a wild, see-saw overtime game as senior Dylon Cormier scored 34 points to deliver Smith his second victory in less than 48 hours.
Coupled with Friday's 79-74 win at Binghamton, Sunday's victory has Smith 510 wins behind his 62-year-old father, Tubby Smith, who is in his first season at Texas Tech after stints at Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky, and Minnesota.
Cormier, a four-year starting guard, scored eight of his points to lead a rally in the final five minutes of regulation. He scored eight more in the overtime session, including a critical three-pointer with 61 seconds left that put Loyola up 90-86. The 6-foot-3 senior also had a game-high 11 rebounds and three steals. Cormier had 31 points in Friday's victory at Binghamton.
Cormier's performance on Sunday spoiled brilliant work by Cornell freshman Robert Hatter. In his second college game, the 6-foot-2 guard had 32 points on 12-for-20 shooting from the floor and 4-of-5 marksmanship from beyond the arc before fouling out with 38 seconds left in overtime.
Loyola trailed by seven points with five minutes left before Cormier scored seven in a row in a furious 54-second stretch to draw the Greyhounds even. After sophomore Eric Laster hit a three-pointer and Cormier made a free throw with 25 seconds left, Loyola had a four-point lead. But Hatter answered with four points in the last 17 seconds, tying the game with a pair of free throws with three seconds left in regulation.
In falling to 0-2, Cornell also got 21 points from senior forward Dwight Tarwater.