Ramblers Look to Open Season 3-0 When They Host Luther Saturday

Ramblers Look to Open Season 3-0 When They Host Luther Saturday

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Nov. 23, 2005

Loyola (2-0) vs. Luther (1-1)
November 26, 2005 - Gentile Center
2:00 pm CST - WAUR (AM 930), WAIT (820 AM)

Today's Game: Loyola looks for its first 3-0 start since opening the 1999-2000 campaign with three consecutive victories when it hosts Luther College. The Ramblers are coming off of a 99-86 win over Evansville on Nov. 21 in their home opener. Following this afternoon's contest, Loyola wraps up a three-game homestand by facing Bradley on Nov. 30 before it travels to Northern Iowa on Dec. 3.

Loyola - Luther - The Series: This is the first-ever meeting between the Ramblers and the Norse.

Plenty of Points: In the victory over Evansville, Loyola recorded its most points (99) since a 106-84 decision over Robert Morris on Nov. 15, 1997. Through two games, the Ramblers are averaging a whopping 84.0 ppg.

For Starters: A big reason Loyola is 2-0 has been its ability to get off to fast starts in each of the first two games of the year. At IPFW last Saturday, the Ramblers jumped out to a 17-2 lead before racing out to a 20-2 advantage against Evansville on Nov. 21.

Head Coach Jim Whitesell: Jim Whitesell is in his second season at Loyola after guiding the Ramblers to a 13-17 ledger in his first season in Rogers Park. Under Whitesell's tutelage, the Ramblers won nine of their final 13 contests and tied for fourth place in the Horizon League after being picked eighth in a preseason poll. Whitesell has displayed an uncanny ability to revitalize programs and lead them to the NCAA Tournament as he previously has led a pair of area teams, Elmhurst College and Lewis University, to the postseason. The Iowa Falls, Iowa native owns a 293-211 (.581) career coaching record and is currently in his 19th season overall and second as a Division I front man. Whitesell steered Loyola to eight victories in Horizon League action a year ago, tying the school record for most conference wins by a first-year coach. Gene Sullivan led the Ramblers to an 8-4 league mark in 1980-81, his first season on the job. Whitesell is 15-17 at Loyola.

On This Date: The Ramblers are 4-2 all-time on Nov. 26, with their last appearance on this date ressulting in a 71-50 victory over Saint Peter's. Both of Loyola's setbacks on this date came at the hands of in-state rival Illinois, in 1983 (70-53) and 1985 (95-64).

Getting Ahead, Staying Ahead: In 80 minutes of basketball so far this season, Loyola has trailed for only 1:18, holding a lead for 78:56. The Ramblers trailed at IPFW, 2-0 before rattling off 17 unanswered points to cruise to the victory, then led wire-to-wire against Evansville on Nov. 21.

Luther Connection: Both Loyola head coach Jim Whitesell and assistant coach Mark Lovelace attended Luther College. Lovelace, a 1996 graduate of Luther, started all 100 games of his collegiate career, establishing school records for assists in both a season and a career.

Home Boys: Loyola will play 15 regular-season home games this year, its most since the 2000-01 campaign. In fact, the Ramblers open up the 2005-06 season by playing six of their first eight games at the Gentile Center, where they went 7-6 a year ago. Loyola has won its last three home games, and four of its last five, at The Joe.

Shake and Blake: Junior guard Blake Schilb appears to be picking up where he left off last season. The 6-foot-7 guard is averaging 20.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.0 apg and 2.0 spg through the first two games of the season. A year ago, Schilb led the Ramblers with 17.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.0 apg and 1.7 spg en route to First Team All-Horizon League honors. A Preseason First Team All-Horizon League selection this season, he is contributing 23.6 ppg over his last seven contests dating back to last season. A starter in 34 consecutive outings, Schilb is coming off of a 22-point effort against Evansville on Nov. 21.

Thousand Island: Blake Schilb needs 183 points to become the 35th member of the Loyola 1,000-Point Club. The do-everything junior would become the first Rambler to reach that plateau since David Bailey in 2001-02. Last season, Schilb doubled his scoring average from his rookie season, elevating his offensive output from 8.9 ppg as a freshman to 17.9 ppg as a sophomore.

Young Gun: Freshman Leon Young has made quite an impression in his first two games as a Rambler, averaging 14.0 ppg and 12.5 rpg while shooting .524 (11 for 24) from the field. The 6-foot-6 forward recorded 16 points and 12 boards off the bench in Loyola's win over Evansville on Nov. 21. In his debut, he notched 12 points and 13 caroms at IPFW. A workhorse in the post, Young led the state of California with 15.5 rpg, while also contributing 21.4 ppg, a year ago at Lakewood High School. He owns the California record for rebounds in a game with an astounding 30 caroms.

International House of Ramblers: Over the summer, a trio of Ramblers gained valuable playing experience in international competition. Junior guard Majak Kou played for Canada at the FIBA World Championships in Argentina, while sophomore guard Pierre Parker competed for France at the U20 European Championships in Russia. Junior center Kye Pattrick, Loyola's first-ever recruit from Australia, competed for his native country at the World University Games in Turkey.

Doubling Up: Young is the first Loyola freshman since Kenny Miller in 1987-88 to open his career with back-to-back double-double performances. Miller accomplished the feat in each of his first four games as a Rambler, including an incredible 25-point, 25-rebounds effort against Oral Roberts on Dec. 2, 1987. He went on to lead the nation in rebounding as a freshman with 13.6 rpg to go with 14.7 ppg. Young's double-double at IPFW was the first by a Rambler in a season opener since Demetrius Williams recorded 14 points and 10 caroms at Loyola Marymount on Nov. 22, 2002. The last time a Rambler freshman posted a double-double in his Loyola debut was Kenny Miller. Miller burst onto the scene with 16 points and 23 rebounds versus UIC on Nov. 28, 1987. Young's 13 rebounds were also the most by a Loyola player in a season opener since Brad Tice hauled in 15 boards against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 21, 1999.

Preseason Props: The Ramblers were picked to finish third in the 2005-06 Preseason Horizon League Poll, receiving a pair of first-place votes for their highest ranking since also being slotted third in 1988-89. A handful of preseason publications have picked Loyola as high as fourth in the League. Junior guard Blake Schilb, who earned First Team All-Horizon League accolades a year ago, has blossomed into one of the premier players in the conference and was lauded as a Preseason First Team All-Horizon League pick this fall.

Logan's Heroes: Senior guard Chris Logan is off to a great start in his final season as a Rambler. The 6-foot Mississippi native enters today's game with averages of 18.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg and 2.5 apg, while shooting .565 (13 for 23) from the field and .500 (5 for 10) from triple territory. Logan scored 19 points in the season opener at IPFW and tossed in 17 points and dished out five assists versus Evansville. In 21 appearances a year ago, Logan scored 56 points, but through two games this season has already accumulated 36 points.

Start Him Up: Since moving back into the starting lineup on Feb. 5 last season, Chris Logan has helped Loyola to a 9-2 record, including six victories away from home. During Logan's brief Loyola career, the Ramblers are 10-5 in games he starts.

Blount's Bounty: When he cracked the starting five at IPFW, J.R. Blount became the third true freshman to start a season opener for the Ramblers in the last two years. Over his final two seasons at Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay, Wis., Blount helped the team to a 51-3 record and back-to-back Division III state titles. After notching four points in the opener at IPFW, the 6-foot-1 guard scored 13 points and handed out four assists against Evansville.

Tom Terrific: In Saturday's season-opening victory at IPFW, sophomore Tom Levin corralled a career-high 11 rebounds and chipped in six points, two steals an assist and a block. The 6-foot-8 sophomore forward played 37 minutes and did not commit a turnover. In his last four outings dating back to last season, Levin is shooting .588 (10 for 17) from the field, while chipping in 6.5 ppg and 6.3 rpg.

Majak Magic: Junior guard Majak Kou is averaging 13.7 ppg and shooting .519 (14 for 27) from the field in his last three outings at the Gentile Center. The slender 6-foot-5 guard poured in 15 points and added five rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block off the bench against Evansville.

Doubly Good: Blake Schilb has scored in double figures in 26 consecutive outings, the longest streak by a Rambler since Keir Rogers turned the trick in 42 straight contests from 1990-92. In that stretch, Schilb has scored 20 or more points on 11 occasions.

Getting It Done With Defense: Under Whitesell, Loyola has compiled an 11-5 (.688) ledger when holding its opponents to fewer than 70 points.

300 on the Horizon: Head coach Jim Whitesell needs seven more wins to reach 300 for his career. The second-year Rambler mentor has guided his teams to an average of 21 victories over the last four seasons.

Home Cookin': In its last three games at the Gentile Center, Loyola has averaged 85.7 ppg and shot a sizzling .518 (86 for 166) from the field.

Caretakers: Starters Tom Levin and Chris Logan have logged a combined 126 minutes of turnover-free basketball this season. The duo has combined for nine total assists without a single miscue through a pair of games.

Family Affair: The Ramblers' roster is littered with players that have some interesting bloodlines. Pierre Parker is the younger brother of San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker Jr. Their father Tony Sr., ranks seventh on Loyola's career scoring chart with 1,605 points while starring for LU from 1973-77. Senior guard Chris Logan is the cousin of Detroit Tigers outfielder Nook Logan and sophomore guard Dave Telander is the nephew of Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander.

Polka Party: Earlier this month, Loyola signed Andy Polka to a National Letter of Intent during the early signing period. The 6-foot-7 power forward stars at Oshkosh West High School, where current Rambler sophomore Tom Levin played. As a junior, Polka posted 14.2 ppg and 11.3 rpg while hitting a blistering 70 percent of his tries from the field. He is the third player from the neighboring state of Wisconsin to sign with Loyola since Whitesell took the reins of the program last April.

League Up to Speed: The Horizon League is one of only eight conferences to have teams reach the regional semifinals in two of the last three years. The only other conferences able to make that claim are the Big East, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Conference USA - which have each had teams in the Sweet 16 all three years - along with the Pac-10. Butler advanced to the third round in 2003 while UW-Milwaukee made a remarkable run to the Sweet 16 a year ago.

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