On Saturday morning, the Brown men’s basketball team (0-2) hosted Loyola University Maryland (1-1) at the Pizzitola Sports Center for Bruno’s home opener.
The Bears and Greyhounds were both looking for their first win of the season after last Monday, when Brown fell to Colgate University and Loyola was beaten by the University of Florida. But after a valiant effort from both teams that included 16 lead changes, Loyola’s David Brown III knocked down a heavily-contested three-pointer with less than two seconds left in overtime, giving the Greyhounds a 77-75 lead that squelched any hope for a Brown victory.
“We are a work in progress and have much improvement ahead of us,” Head Coach Mike Martin ’04 wrote in a message to The Herald via Brown Athletics.
“We have to be more consistent with our execution at both ends of the court for the entire game so that we are able to win close games like we’ve had already,” he added.
Martin made no changes to his starting lineup from Wednesday’s season opener against Colgate, sending Felix Kloman ’24, Kino Lilly Jr. ’25, Nana Owusu-Anane ’25, Aaron Cooley ’25 and Kalu Anya ’26 to start Saturday’s contest.
And that starting five came out strong. Lilly Jr., who put on an offensive clinic, led the Bears on both ends of the floor, finishing with a game-high 27 points on 4-9 shooting from three. Martin kept Lilly Jr. in for all but five minutes of the game. But Lilly Jr. seemed unfazed by his lack of rest, as he dominated the backcourt, turning off of screens to finish floaters, knocking down mid-range jumpers and hitting the occasional step-back three. With his four made threes in Saturday’s competition, Lilly Jr. is now tied for eighth place in program history with 159 career three-pointers.
The Bears were also held afloat by Owusu-Anane, whose second consecutive double-double performance provided the Bears with sound defense, plenty of second-chance opportunities and additional offensive firepower. For most of the game, Owusu-Anane dominated down low: The 6’8” forward scored 18 points and snagged 13 rebounds — in addition to two blocks and two steals. Cooley also provided valuable minutes, coming up with clutch buckets and rebounds late in the game, as did Landon Lewis ’26, whose explosive dunk in overtime caused the home crowd to erupt.
Despite a stable first half for Bruno, Loyola held a 31-29 lead at halftime. The Bears started the second half with some intensity, as Owusu-Anane immediately cut to the basket, finishing a layup that set the tone for the rest of the game. The Bears continued to run their offense to a tee and capitalized on the Greyhounds’ defensive breakdowns.
But Loyola’s high-powered offense, spearheaded by versatile guard Deon Perry, never quailed. Perry found success in just about every aspect of the game, scoring 21 points, dishing out nine assists and plucking three steals.
The Greyhounds hit a late three-pointer with fewer than 10 seconds to go in regulation to jump ahead 67-65. But Lilly Jr. knocked down a pair of free throws to tie the game at 67 apiece and force overtime.
The star for Loyola was Brown III, who was solid throughout the game and finished with 12 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal. But his biggest contribution came with seconds left.
Down 75-74, Perry dribbled at the top of the key, surveying the court. As the clock wound down, he aggressively drove right but lost control of the ball, which rolled into the hands of Brown III. Brown III quickly — while heavily contested — rose up, launching a high-arching three-pointer that landed with less than two seconds to go, leaving the Bears in an impossible situation and essentially ending the game.
Kloman inbounded the ball from the opposite baseline for the Bears and launched a half-court pass that was quickly intercepted by none other than Brown III, who held onto it as the buzzer sounded.
Despite the difficult loss, the Bears will have to quickly shift their attention to their next opponent, the University of New Hampshire (1-1).
UNH “will pose another set of challenges for our group, but before we focus solely on them, we first must learn from the Loyola game and then get ready to prepare for another great opportunity,” Martin said in a statement to The Herald.
The Bears and Wildcats will face off on Tuesday in Durham, N.H., at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN+.