Greyhounds face tall task in clash with third-ranked Wildcats

Dec 22, 2011 - 3:51 PM Lexington, KY (Sports Network) - The third-ranked Kentucky Wildcats will attempt to extend their home winning streak to 41 games when they host the Loyola-Maryland Greyhounds in non-conference action today.

After losing the season opener, Loyola ripped off eight consecutive victories to build some confidence among both the players and the program's fans. Unfortunately, the streak did come to an end on Sunday, as the Greyhounds fell to St. Bonaventure on the road by a 76-66 final. Loyola has played two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference games to date and won both.

As for Kentucky, it has yet to begin SEC play, although the squad is clearly the favorite to win that conference crown. The Wildcats are young, with two sophomores and three freshman in the starting lineup, but a 10-1 start to this campaign suggests that the youthful roster is loaded with talent. Most of the victories to date have been blowouts, and an 82-50 romp over Samford on Tuesday certainly falls into that category.

This game marks the first-ever meeting between Loyola-Maryland and Kentucky on the hardwood.

Dylan Cormier has certainly been productive for Loyola so far this season, as he is scoring 16.8 ppg to go along with a club-best 18 steals. Erik Etherly checks in with 12.4 ppg on 52.1 percent shooting from the field, and he is pulling down 7.6 rpg as well. Shane Walker provides 11.8 ppg, while Justin Drummond is close behind with 11.7 ppg. The Greyhounds are generating 69.5 ppg while holding opponents to 64.7 ppg, and a positive rebounding differential of 5.1 rpg has clearly helped the cause. Drummond was the star for Loyola in the loss to St. Bonaventure last time out, as he scored 26 of his team's 66 points. The Greyhounds were dominated on the boards to the tune of a 35-23 disadvantage and were outscored 26-14 from the foul line.

Sophomore Doron Lamb has been the top offensive performer for Kentucky this season, as he is scoring 16.7 ppg on the strength of his staggering 52 percent accuracy from three-point range. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist checks in with 12.9 ppg and 6.9 rpg, while Terrence Jones provides 12.4 ppg and 6.2 rpg. Add Anthony Davis (11.5 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 49 blocks) and Marquis Teague (11.1 ppg) to the mix and it is clear that Kentucky has plenty of capable scorers in the fold. The team is generating a healthy 81.8 ppg while holding opponents to 58.3 ppg on 34.3 percent field goal efficiency. In the 32-point romp over Samford a couple of days ago, Lamb exploded for 26 points, while Darius Miller posted 17 points and Teague added 14 points. Jones missed that game with a finger injury, and it is unclear if he will be able to go today.

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