2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 12/28/2010 10:17 PM

Libertyville handles Loyola

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The first name of Landon Eyre's father could be a basketball player's nightmare.


"Like an ugly jump shot," Landon Eyre said.

"Brick" isn't a nickname.

"He has five older sisters and they wanted something manly, so they picked Brick," Eyre explained.

With 11.2 seconds left in Libertyville's 63-53 win over Loyola on Day 2 of the 33rd annual Wheeling Wildcat Hardwood Classic on Tuesday, Eyre stepped to the foul line needing to make 1 of 2 free throws to hit 20 points for the first time in his career.

Brick's son didn't brick it. Nor did Eyre airball it.

But the senior forward did miss the first free throw.

"I kept looking up at my dad and he kept saying, 'Focus on the shot,' " Eyre said. "I thought it was a one-and-one so when I missed the first one I was like, 'I missed it.' But then I had another shot."

Landon landed it.

In the basket.

Eyre was aware it was his 20th point, but, for whatever reason, the scoreboard operator didn't put it up on the scoreboard, which notes individual point totals.

"My mom (Susan) was like, 'Why didn't they change it to 20?' " Eyre said. "But by that point, I didn't care."

A Wheeling official did care. So after the game, after the Libertyville and Loyola players and coaches had exchanged handshakes, the scoreboard operator put up the 20th point for Libertyville's No. 25.

"I saw it when we were walking off," Eyre said. "It was cool. I've had a couple of rough games, so this was a nice little breakout game."

Eyre not only led all scorers with his 20 points, helping Libertyville (7-4, 2-0 at Wheeling) advance to today's 7:15 p.m. semifinal against Notre Dame, but he also grabbed a team-high 9 rebounds, blocked a shot and took a charge.

He even made sure that an official saw that a Loyola player stepped on the line while shooting a free throw.

"He's such an intelligent player," Libertyville coach Scott Bogumil said. "He called that lane violation, too."

The 6-foot-4 Eyre scored 4 points and pulled down 4 rebounds in the opening quarter in helping the Wildcats burst to a 16-6 lead. They never trailed after that, despite seeing Loyola (5-6, 1-1) pull within three early in the fourth.

Eyre's rebounding prowess was impressive -- and needed for Libertyville -- considering Loyola had 6-8 Michael Lang (8 points) and 6-5 Briggs King (7 points), each of whom had 12 rebounds.

"I was feeling it a little in the beginning," Eyre said. "For me, the first quarter is definitely a good predictor because that's when I get in my flow. I got a couple of rebounds right away so that definitely helped me know that I can get some out there."

Griffin Pils played another strong game for Libertyville. The junior guard continues to take advantage of extended playing time with Ryan Barth sidelined. Barth missed his fifth straight game with an ankle injury. Pils had 14 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.

Ellis Matthews scored 17 points for Libertyville.

"We talked about it as a team that if we can figure out how to win without Barth, when he comes back, we'll be such a stronger team," Eyre said. "Pils has really stepped up. He's putting up great numbers. He has great court vision."

Loyola sank nine 3-pointers, including four by sophomore guard Peter Pujals (team-high 16 points off the bench). But the Wildcats often caught the Ramblers in transition, with Jeremy Birck, a forward/center, dishing out 6 assists.

"We're getting a lot of points off our defense," Bogumil said.

Eyre scored 8 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-point play with 7:13 left, after Loyola got with 44-41.

His family sat in the bleachers behind Libertyville's bench.

"My mom's family is in town so I kept looking up at them," Eyre said. "When we got in the locker room, a kid on my team turned and said, 'Landon, you communicate more with your family during the game than you do with our entire team.' Which is probably true."

True, too, as noted on Wheeling's scoreboard: Landon Eyre -- 20 points.