After an 18-year absence, Loyola University Maryland is back in the NCAA Tournament. The Greyhounds secured their first Big Dance berth since 1994 with a 48-44 win over Fairfield in the MAAC championship game in Springfield, Mass.
After trailing 30-26 at halftime, the Greyhounds scored the first nine points of the second half and never trailed again. Fairfield only scored 14 points in the second 20 minutes as the game degenerated into a scrappy, sloppy affair.The Greyhounds had a 47-44 lead with three minutes to play, but the only field goal the rest of the game was a Desmond Wade three-pointer that made the score 47-44. The Stags had two chances to tie the game, but three-point attempts by Ryan Olander and Rakim Sanders missed. Shane Walker hit the front end of a 1-and-1 with 2.8 seconds to provide the final margin.
Erik Etherly finished the game with 10 points to lead Loyola in scoring. Fairfield was led by Sanders and Olander, who scored 12 and 11 points, respectively. Maurice Barrow added 10 points in a losing effort for the Stags.