The Loyola men’s basketball team (2-0) opened up its season with wins over Wright State University and Eureka College at Gentile Arena Nov. 10 and 12, respectively. The Ramblers won their sixth straight season opener and are currently on an 11-game non-conference win streak at Gentile dating back to the 2015-16 season.
How it happened: About 1,300 students came out to Gentile Arena to watch Loyola take on former Horizon League foe Wright State. The Ramblers came out shooting in the first half, shooting at a 75 percent clip at the break. In the second half, however, they shot 37 percent, just hanging on to beat the Raiders 84-80.
In the second game of the weekend, Loyola took on Division III school Eureka College. The Ramblers jumped out to a 55-40 lead at halftime and never looked back, defeating the Red Devils 96-69. Head coach Porter Moser let his bench see action in the second half and was able to give his starters a break.
Analysis: After making just two of six shots and getting into foul trouble in the season opener, senior forward Aundre Jackson found his stride against Eureka. The reigning Missouri Valley Conference Sixth Man of the Year went 7-of-10 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds, coming one short of a double-double. He didn’t see much action in the second half because Moser let more second-string players see the court.
First-year forward Cameron Krutwig impressed in his first two collegiate games. A product of northwest suburb Algonquin, Krutwig flirted with a double-double in the opener, scoring 17 points and pulling down seven rebounds in just 17 minutes of action. In game two, he scored six points, grabbed six rebounds and dished four assists in 17 minutes.
Redshirt junior guard Marques Townes picked up where he left off after transferring from Fairleigh Dickinson University and sitting out last season, due to NCAA transfer rules. After scoring 16 points against Wright State, he tallied 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists against Eureka. With former guard Milton Doyle’s production out of the lineup, Townes showed flashes of potential to help fill that spot.
Moser’s Thoughts: After the victory over Eureka, Moser said the key to winning games is to share the wealth on offense and to play collectively.
“We just [have] to be a ‘team of we,’ not worry who’s [scoring the most],” Moser said. “If you’re not scoring, you [have] to defend and rebound. That’s what I want: us to get to that level, where our scoring is not dictating our defense.”
What’s next? The Ramblers are scheduled to head to Kansas City, Missouri, to take on the University of Missouri-Kansas City Nov. 16.