Men’s basketball has strong first half of season


Ryan Talley

Senior forward Jalen Galloway shoots a free throw at the game against William Carey on Dec. 1. Galloway has led the team this season in points.

Matthew Richards, Asst Sports

The men’s basketball team began the year with the main goal of keeping their title as national champions. They boast a 10-1 record currently and are riding a 20-game winning streak in the Southern States Athletic Conference as conference play ramps up after winter break. 

“I think the season has been great,” said head coach Donald Reyes. “We’re still kind of learning each other as a group with all the new guys we have, and working to become a more cohesive unit.”

Loyola won its fourth consecutive season opener in October with a score of 101-93 against Clinton College. Jalen Galloway played a key role in the win as he scored a career-high of 40 points and 12 rebounds during the game.  

The rest of the first half of the season has gone well for the Wolf Pack, as they were able to stretch their National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics-leading winning-streak to 28 games before losing their first game since Jan. 17 of this year. The schedule included three major tests for the team in Division I opponents Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Louisiana, which Reyes said has done wonders for the team. 

“It is the highest level of college basketball and unfortunately, we weren’t fully healthy for all three games,” Reyes said. “That really allowed for other players to step up, compete, and test themselves against elite level competition.”

Galloway has led the team this year in points and rebounds per game, averaging 19.7 and  6.8 in both categories which placed him No. 3 in the SSAC in scoring, and earned him three out of the first five Conference Player of the Week awards. 

“We’ve really been growing and learning how to play together this year,” Galloway said. “We hang out a lot off the court, and those relationships carry over onto the court, so I’m feeling confident heading into Christmas break as to where things can go for this team.”

The second half of the season will be exclusively conference matchups, and Reyes said the Wolf Pack is looking forward to defending their conference title. 

The team is currently undefeated at 4-0 in conference play, Reyes said. “We had a chance to see some of the teams in our conference play when we went to Panama City for a tournament earlier this season, and I feel confident that we will be where we need to be as a group in order to be successful, win our conference, and also make it back into the top 25 of the NAIA rankings.”

The two top teams from the SSAC get a bid to nationals, Galloway said.

“We really want to solidify our spot, so that places a lot of importance on each conference game,” he said.

The Wolf Pack will begin the second half of their season in Montgomery, Alabama on Jan. 3 with a matchup against No. 7 Faulkner University before returning home to The Den on Jan. 7 to face Talladega College in a rematch of last season’s NAIA National Championship.