Deontae Hawkins' free throws with 3.9 seconds remaining provided the difference and Ben Richardson's three-pointer from just inside halfcourt rimmed out at the buzzer as Loyola University Chicago suffered a heartbreaking 65-63 loss at Missouri Valley Conference co-leader Illinois State (23-5, 15-1 MVC) this afternoon. The loss drops the Ramblers, who have lost four conference road games by four points or less, to 17-12 overall and 7-9 in the MVC.
Coach Moser's Thoughts
"I'm really proud of our guys and how they battled. We've shown that kind of resiliency all year long. A couple of times it looked like it could've gotten away from us, but we hung in there. I'm really hurt for our guys because they left it all on the floor."
How It Happened
Despite getting some good looks, Loyola got off to a slow start, hitting just 1 of its first 9 shots from the field, but then found its groove, hitting 7 of its next 8 tries to draw even at 22.
But, an 8-0 Redbird run, that featured three-pointers from Tony Wills and Paris Lee, gave Illinois State a 30-22 lead and it took a 38-31 advantage into halftime. Milton Doyle's basket at the 1:21 mark of the opening period gave him nine points on the day and moved him into a tie with Javan Goodman for 10th place on Loyola's all-time scoring chart.
Loyola, which was exceptional defensively in the second half, trailed 51-40 with 10:17 remaining before it got cooking at the offense end of the floor, routinely using its defense to set up its offense. An 18-6 Loyola run, capped by a three-pointer by Donte Ingram with 4:53 remaining, gave the Ramblers a 58-57 lead, their first of the game. Back-to-back treys by MiKyle McIntosh put Illinois State back on top, 63-58, but Loyola answered right back with a three from Aundre Jackson and a hoop by Doyle to even the score with 2:04 left to play.
The Ramblers defense held tight in the final two minutes as the Redbirds misfired on three shots before Loyola gained possession with a chance to take a lead. Clayton Custer's three-point attempt from the right wing fell short with 36 seconds remaining and Paris Lee corralled the rebound to set up ISU's final possession.
Loyola was whistled for a foul with 3.9 seconds remaining, which sent McIntosh to the foul line for his game-winning free throws.
A Look At The Numbers
- With 17 points this afternoon, Milton Doyle moved into 10th place on Loyola's career scoring chart with 1,572 points. He has scored in double figures in 30 consecutive contests dating back to last season.
- Aundre Jackson added 17 points, five boards and four assists off the bench, while Donte Ingram pitched in 13 points and six rebounds.
- Deontae Hawkins led Illinois State with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Loyola closes out the home portion of the 2016-17 regular-season schedule when it hosts Drake Wednesday (Feb. 22) at 7 p.m.