Ramblers Look For Iowa Split At Drake




Feb. 14, 2014

Loyola (9-16, 4-9 MVC) at Drake (12-13, 3-10 MVC)
Date & Time Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 | 7 p.m.
Location Des Moines, Iowa | Knapp Center
Coverage Live Video  | Live Audio | Live Stats
Additional Information Twitter | Facebook | Loyola Game Notes | Drake Game Notes 

Storylines
- Loyola looks to rebound from its most lopsided loss of the season when it wraps up its swing through the Hawkeye State tonight at Drake
- Host Northern Iowa was on fire, shooting 59% from the floor and knocking down 12 three-pointers in an 80-58 victory over the Ramblers on Wednesday night in Cedar Falls
- After hitting 7-of-10 shots to start the game, Loyola struggled to find the basket over the final 30 minutes, finishing the game shooting just under 40% (39.6)
- Devon Turk led Loyola with 10 points but the Ramblers' top two scorers, Milton Doyle and Christian Thomas, combined for just 11 points (nearly 20 below their combined average) on 3-of-13 shooting
- Loyola survived a first-half, three-point barrage from Drake to claim a 70-60 win over the Bulldogs in the first meeting on Jan. 15 at Gentile Arena
- Drake hit six treys in the opening half but Doyle scored 19 of his game-high 28 points in the second half as the Ramblers shot 60% from the floor after intermission and took over in the win
- Tonight is the 21st meeting between the two private schools with Loyola holding a slight 11-9 lead in the all-time series
- Loyola is 4-5 (.444) in nine previous meetings in Des Moines but the teams have not played here since an 86-69 Drake victory on Dec. 5, 1998
- Loyola is shooting 46% from distance in MVC wins compared to just 31% in its Valley losses

Loyola/Drake - The Series
Tonight is the 21st meeting between the two private schools with Loyola holding an 11-9 lead in the all-time series. Loyola is 4-5 (.444) all-time against the Bulldogs in Des Moines, however, the teams have not met here since Dec. 5, 1998, an 86-69 Drake victory. The Bulldogs have won the last two meetings here with the Ramblers' last win being a 72-60 triumph back on Dec. 23, 1994. Loyola is looking for its first-ever Missouri Valley regular-season sweep, as it used 28 points from Milton Doyle to gain a 70-60 win over the Bulldogs on Jan. 15 in Chicago

Rare Rookie Air
One way to give some context for Milton Doyle's rookie season is to compare his numbers against other freshmen in both Loyola and Missouri Valley history. Doyle has scored 379 points so far this season, good for fourth on LU's freshman list. In addition, he is also rapidly moving up the MVC freshman scoring chart, as only 18 freshmen in conference history have scored over 400 points. With a minimum of six games left, Doyle would need to average 14.7 ppg in order to surpass Alfredrick Hughes' Loyola freshman record

Logic Says, Loyola Will Shoot Well Tonight
Despite being the new kid on the Missouri Valley block, Loyola has been one of the league's most efficient offensive teams this season. The Ramblers enter today's game 36th in the country in field goal percentage (47.5%) but have been hot and cold of late. Incredibly, Loyola has shot 50% or better in 14 of its 25 games (56%) this season, however, while the Ramblers were 19-4 (.826) when shooting better than its opponent in Porter Moser's first two seasons they are only 9-8 (.529) this season in such games. Furthermore, Loyola has alternated between shooting over 50% and shooting under 40% over its last six games so, after shooting 39% on Wednesday, logic dictates that LU will top the 50% mark tonight

T'was Good To Be King On Wednesday Night
One interesting pattern of late has been the increased playing time for redshirt freshman Jeremy King. After seeing the court in just one of Loyola's first eight Missouri Valley games, King has played in four of its last five. He gave the Ramblers some good minutes on Wednesday night, scoring a career-best eight points (4-5 FGs) in nine minutes at UNI

Running Out Of Nails To Bite
One recurring theme for Loyola this season has been close games that come down to the final minutes. Eighteen (18) of Loyola's 25 games this season have been decided by 10 points or less, with 11 determined by five points or fewer. Unfortunately, Loyola's young group is still learning how to make winning plays at the end as the Ramblers are just 3-8 (.273) in those games (five pts or less), including a tough 81-76 (OT) loss at Southern Illinois in its last road contest. Interestingly, Loyola's first 15 losses came by an average of 6.5 ppg, with the largest margin being a 14-point setback to Fordham on Dec. 23, before the 22-point setback at UNI. Only two of its 15 Valley games have been decided by more than 12 points (89-57 win over Missouri State, loss on Wednesday night)

They Shoot, They Score, They Win
Looking at basketball through its most basic lens, the team that scores the ball more effectively usually wins and this year's Loyola team is a testament to that. The Ramblers have shot 50% or better in all nine of their wins but are just 3-43 under Moser when shooting a lower percentage than their opponent