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Beach Ball Classic notebook: New role pays off for MVP Loyd

MYRTLE BEACH

Jonathan Loyd accepted a new role at the Beach Ball Classic this week and it earned him the tournament's Most Valuable Player Award.

Bishop Gorman was without two starters all week and as a result Loyd was asked to score first and pass second - an opposite mindset than what he isused to. The flashy guard averaged 15.2 points and 5.2 assists in four wins tobe dubbed the tournament's best.

"Back home in [Las] Vegas I might take three or four shots a game," said the 5-foot-8 guard. "I usually average like 10 assists because when we have our full lineup with all our scorers they make it so easy [to get assists.]"

Loyd had potentially his worst game in Thursday's championship bout when he scored 17 points and dished out just three assists while turning it over four times. Alot of that had to do with the matchup zone that Columbia (Ga.) threw at him.

"My dad is a pretty smart guy," said Loyd of his father, Mike, who played for UNLV from 1978-81. "He told me to take what the defense gives you. I made somestupid turnovers tonight, but Columbia knew that we like to run."

Cook wins dunk contest

Alexander Hamilton (Wis.) forward Elgin Cook put the ball between his legs andslammed home the best dunk of the night to put himself into the finals of the slam dunk contest againstColumbia's Jamil Saaka.

With the spotlight on him, Saaka could not get the alley-oop timing down withteammate Tahj Shamsid-Deen and instead decided on a windmill-dunk that he couldn't convert.

Cook just needed to go up and put the ball through the hoop and have his handstouch the rim to win.

"I knew I had it won after I put down the between-the-legs-dunk," said the IowaState commit. "It wasn't an exciting finish, but it was a lot of fun competingagainst these guys."

No surprise, Leonard wins 3-point shootout

J.L. Mann sharpshooter Damien Leonard won the 3-point competition as he drilled eightlong balls in the final round to earn the title.

A year ago the Patriot guard hit 16 threes in three games to break ScottieReynolds record of 15 to put him at the top of the Beach Ball Classic recordbooks.

In the Patriots' three games this year, Leonard had 12 treys.

Slow going

Thursday morning's consolation bracket game between St. Edward (Ohio) and Bishop O'Connell (Va.) was almost a record-setting performance, but not one either team would want to brag about.

The Eagles' 34-29 victory was the second-lowest point total in theBeach Ball Classic's 29-year history, beating only the 1985 snoozer between Seton Hall Prep and Crenshaw (Calif.). Seton Hall won that game 30-26, snapping Crenshaw's 38-game winning streeak.

Punishing trip

Alexander Hamilton (Wis.) coach Tom Diener wanted to make the most out of his team's holiday trip to Myrtle Beach. The Milwaukee-based Wildcats are being punished for leaving the state of Wisconsin to play and will only compete in 20 games this season instead of 22.

"I can't make sense of why they want us to stay in-state and play," Diener said.

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