What went down: Despite a sluggish first half, the Loyola men’s basketball team managed to hold off Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) 63-50 at Gentile Arena Nov. 21. Loyola is off to its best start since beginning the 2010-11 season 7-0.
How it happened: The Ramblers managed to shoot 53 percent in the first half, but MVSU ended up shooting 12 more shots, which allowed the Delta Devils to jump ahead 31-28 at the break. The Ramblers struggled defensively in the first half, allowing MVSU to shoot 12-of-31 from the field compared to Loyola’s 10-of-19. While MVSU managed to outshoot Loyola in the second half, only eight went in, and the Ramblers were able to go on a 23-6 run to take a 54-41 lead and eventually win the game.
Analysis: Defense was just one of Loyola’s shortcomings during the first half. The Ramblers also struggled to find a rhythm offensively, committing eight turnovers and shooting 1-of-7 from three-point range. While the second half was better, this is the second time in three games Loyola has struggled in the first half and bounced back in the second –– the team trailed the University of Missouri-Kansas City 26-20 at the break Nov. 16 but won 66-56. With a tough stretch coming up, the Ramblers must perform better out of the gate to remain undefeated.
Senior guard Donte Ingram, one of four Ramblers to play at least 30 minutes, became the first Rambler to earn a double-double this season. The Chicago native finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the night.
Redshirt junior guard Clayton Custer led the team in scoring for the third game in a row, coming away with 13 points. Custer is now averaging 15 points per game.
Redshirt junior guard Marques Townes also played well. Despite coming away with only two points in the first half, the reigning Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week contributed nine in the second half to finish with 11 points on the night. He’s now averaging 14.2 points per game.
Sophomore guard Cameron Satterwhite, who energized the bench with a dunk Nov. 19 against Samford University, didn’t play in the game against MVSU. Head coach Porter Moser said Satterwhite’s absence was simply a coach’s decision.
Moser’s Thoughts: In the postgame press conference, Moser said the efforts of Townes and Ingram in the second half led the team to victory.
“The best thing that came out of this game was how Marques and Donte responded at halftime,” Moser said. “[We] haven’t had to have that kind of a halftime too much this year, and those guys responded the way you want a veteran to respond.”
What’s next? The Ramblers are scheduled to head to Savannah, Georgia, to take on the University of North Carolina-Wilmington in the Savannah Invitational tournament Nov. 25.