What went down: The Loyola men’s basketball team (19-5, 9-3) took on Missouri State University at Gentile Arena Feb. 3. The Ramblers defeated the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) preseason-favorite Bears 97-75 in front of nearly 3,600 fans to maintain a one-game lead in the MVC standings.
How it happened: After falling to Bradley University in the final seconds Jan. 31, the Ramblers’ offense was firing on all cylinders against Missouri State. Loyola shot 64.5 percent in the first half and 57.6 percent in the second half. Six Ramblers scored in double figures and Loyola won the rebounding battle 33-22.
Analysis: Redshirt junior Clayton Custer tied his career-high of 23 points in the win and became the first Loyola player to score 20 points or more in three straight games since 2011. Custer also dished out six assists, which made his case for MVC Player of the Year even stronger. He’s averaging 22.3 ppg over his last three contests.
Redshirt junior Marques Townes chipped in 14 points — 11 of which came in the second half — and six rebounds. Over his last four games, Townes is averaging 11.5 ppg and continues to be a valuable weapon for Loyola.
First-year center Cam Krutwig scored 13 points while senior forward Aundre Jackson added 12. Senior forward Donte Ingram and senior guard Ben Richardson each added 11 points. The balanced attack was due, in part, to the 24 assists the Ramblers handed out. Loyola’s ability to share the ball while also committing just nine turnovers made the different in the game.
Sophomore guard Cameron Satterwhite had four points in the effort, but he recorded new career highs with seven rebounds and four assists. Satterwhite is proving to be a viable option as a backup point guard and is improving his ability to share the ball.
Loyola’s 19 overall wins are its most since 2015 when it won 24 games, and its nine MVC wins are the most the program has won since joining the MVC in 2013. With six games to go before the MVC tournament March 1-4, the Ramblers are setting themselves up for a good seeding at Arch Madness.
The crowd of 3,592 people was the largest crowd at Gentile Arena this season. In the postgame press conference, head coach Porter Moser thanked the fans who came to the game and encouraged them to come back as part of his “vision” of filling the arena to capacity.
Moser’s thoughts: In the postgame press conference, Moser said he felt his team responded well after its loss to Bradley.
“I was proud of the guys, how they bounced back from the Bradley loss,” Moser said. “[I’m] really pleased with how we shared the ball … and obviously we struggled guarding them. That’s the most we’ve given up in a long time.”
What’s next? The Ramblers are scheduled to take on Drake University Feb. 7 at Gentile Arena.