Doyle Beats Buzzer, Sends Ramblers To Quarterfinals
March 7, 2014
ST. LOUIS - Milton Doyle buried a long, contested three-pointer at the buzzer to lift Loyola to a stirring, 74-72, victory over Bradley tonight in an opening round game of the Missouri Valley Tournament in St. Louis, Mo. The Ramblers move to 10-21 while Bradley's season comes to an end with a 12-20 record.
"It came down to belief and our guys believed, even in that last timeout, that we were going to find a way to win," said head coach Porter Moser. "We had trouble with turnovers in both games against Bradley (during the regular season) and we worked a lot on sharing the ball, turning down a decent shot to get a better shot and we did that tonight."
"We executed the play exactly how coach drew it up," said Doyle.
Both teams started out hot, a stark contrast to the two regular-season meetings, the teams were tied five different times to get to 15-all when Loyola was able to make a move. Back-to-back three-pointers from Devon Turk gave LU a 21-15 lead and a trey minutes later from Jeff White made it a 26-19 game at the 7:15 mark. Bradley pulled back within a point on a Ka'Darryl Bell triple but White answered with another from long distance and the Ramblers led by as many as 10 before settling for a 43-35 lead at halftime. Loyola shot a blistering 61.5% in the opening half, including 6-of-8 from distance, and its 43 points surpassed its total for the entire game in the last meeting with Bradley (38).
Christian Thomas opened the second half with a three-ball to restore a double-digit lead and the St. Louis native was able to get to the free throw line to help the Ramblers keep Bradley at an arm's length. A three-point play from Auston Barnes cut the lead to six (53-47) but a pair of Nick Osborne free throws and a Turk baseline jumper bumped the margin back to 10 but Bradley had one last run in them.
A Tyshon Pickett basket and an Omari Grier three-pointer cut the Braves' deficit to four (62-58) and a turnover led to a Walt Lemon, Jr. dunk to make it a two-point game with 5:03 left. Doyle answered with a basket and White split a pair from the line to restore a five-point lead but Bradley kept pushing and was within one after a Pickett basket with 1:13 on the clock. He then hit two free throws off a rebounding foul to give Bradley its first lead, 70-69, since the 10:34 mark of the first half but Doyle drew a foul and hit two clutch free throws to put Loyola back on top with 11 ticks remaining.
Lemon, Jr. hit two more from the stripe to put Bradley back on top with :04.8 left, setting up Doyle's heroics. Joe Crisman inbounded to Thomas, who hit Doyle with a pass at halfcourt. He took a couple dribbles, looked up at the clock and fired the winning shot.
The winner of both the MVC Freshman and Newcomer of the Year awards, Doyle finished with a team-high 19 points, four assists and three blocks. He had plenty of help, with White (14 points, 5-7 FGs, 3-3 3FGs), Turk (14 points) and Thomas (12 points) also reaching double digits.
It marked Loyola's first postseason win since March, 2008 and the Ramblers will look for another one tomorrow evening when they battle No. 2 seed Indiana State at 6:05 p.m.