The Thompsons combined for 18 points. Loyola's soul-crushing defense had no answer for Albany's pressing attack. The Greyhounds' offense lost its volition, pounding pipes and shooting under 15 percent against an Albany defense that opponents abused at points this season. And Blaze Riorden tasted colors.
The end result was a 13-6 bloodbath in favor of Albany in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The win -- a surprising one given how the Great Danes dominated the nation's top-ranked team -- pushes Albany to the quarterfinals in Hempstead, New York against the winner of Harvard-Notre Dame. This is the first trip to the quarterfinals for Albany since 2007, a year in which the fifth-seeded Danes dropped unseeded Loyola in the opening round.
Albany raced out to an early 3-1 lead after the game's first 15 minutes of play, getting tallies in a myriad of ways: Lyle Thompson started the Great Danes' barrage with a one-on-one bamboozling of Joe Fletcher just 2:26 into the game; Miles followed Lyle's goal with a one-on-one win against Pat Frazier after pushing Frazier toward the cage; and John Newhouse -- in transition, filling a lane right down the heart of the defense -- gave Albany its third goal of the quarter, taking a pass from Matt Bertrams and finishing. The only mitigation to the Danes' momentum in the first stanza was a Pat Laconi goal on a slow transition opportunity, getting a bucket for the 'Hounds with 2:49 remaining in the quarter.
The second period was similar to the first, with Albany's offense hammering the brick while the Danes' defense held the Greyhounds at bay. The first score of the period -- a dazzling Lyle-to-Miles connection through traffic -- grew the Danes' lead to three and, 5:23 later, Albany popped its lead to four on a bingo-bango transition opportunity that ended on a Miles finish. Loyola would answer with two goals in the next 29 seconds -- the first from Romar Dennis; the second on a Nikko Pontrello inside roll -- but the rout was on from that point forward: Holding the 'Hounds scoreless for the next 17:10, Albany put four goals on the board, building a 9-3 lead until Pat Laconi generated a tally with 4:02 remaining in the penultimate quarter.
A 36-minute lightning delay after Laconi's marker only postponed the academic. Albany outscored Loyola 4-2 over the game's final 18:16, dominating the 'Hounds and bagging the Danes' biggest kill of the season.
Lyle (122 points) and Miles (115 points) both passed UMBC's Steve Marohl (114 points (1992)) for the top spot in the record books for points scored in a season. Miles has an opportunity to chase down Yale's Jon Reese -- 82 goals in 1990 -- for most goals in a single season (Miles needs three goals to make it happen).
TRUNCATED ADVANCED BOX SCORE
|Raw Offensive Efficiency||36.11||18.18|
|Raw Offensive Shooting Rate||29.55%||14.63%|
|Shots per Offensive Opportunity||1.22||1.24|
|Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities||38.89||48.48|
|Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Possessions||39.13||34.78|
|Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities||39.39||30.56|
|Team Save Percentage||68.42%||45.83%|