March 7, 2014
ST. LOUIS - Second-seeded Indiana State used a 17-5 run midway through the second half to turn an eight-point lead into a 20-point bulge and Loyola could not recover as the Ramblers dropped a 75-62 decision to the Sycamores tonight in a MVC Tournament quarterfinal game at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Loyola's season ends with a 10-22 record while Indiana State (22-9) advances to face either Northern Iowa or Southern Illinois in tomorrow's semifinals.
After an emotional, buzzer-beating win over Bradley last night, Loyola struggled to find the basket in the first half. Indiana State jumped out to an 11-4 lead after five minutes and the Ramblers went 7:13 without a field goal before Joe Crisman scored in transition. Jeff White followed with a bucket to get Loyola within three and the Ramblers pulled even at 11 after two free throws from Matt O'Leary. White tossed in a long three-pointer at the end of the shot clock to help keep Loyola within striking distance but six straight points from Jake Odum gave the Trees a seven-point lead before two White free throws helped LU claw within four, 26-22, at intermission.
After shooting 61.5% in the first half last night against Bradley, Loyola hit just 18% (4 of 22) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes tonight but were buoyed by a 13-for-14 (93%) effort from the foul line. Odum hit six field goals in the period while everyone else, on both teams, combined for nine makes.
Six quick points to open the second half pushed ISU's lead to 10 but baskets from Christian Thomas and O'Leary helped the Ramblers get back within six. However, each time Loyola made a run, Indiana State had an answer and Odum quickly connected from long range to get the margin back up to nine. A Thomas three-point play helped LU try and make another push but Lucas Eitel shook free for a triple to keep the lead at 10 with 13 minutes to go.
Two more charity tosses from Thomas cut it back to eight before the Sycamores went on their decisive run, capped by a Dewan Cummings dunk that made it a 61-41 game at the 4:41 mark and ISU would cruise to the finish line from there.
Loyola finished the game shooting 34% overall and White was the only player in double figures, finishing with 13 points. Thomas and Tony Nixon (3-3 FGs) each finished with nine points while O'Leary pitched in with seven points and five rebounds against his hometown team. Milton Doyle capped a record-setting freshman season with five points and six assists and his 478 points for the season rank second on Loyola's all-time freshman scoring list, just four shy of Alfredrick Hughes' standard.