What went down: No. 1 seed Loyola (28-5, 15-3) took on No. 3 seed Illinois State University (18-14, 10-8) in the championship game of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) tournament Sunday afternoon. The Ramblers defeated the Redbirds 65-49 to advance to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1985.
How it happened: The Loyola offense was clicking in the first half. The Ramblers shot 46.4 percent (13-for-28) from the field, including 50 percent (6-for-12) from beyond the three-point line, while holding the Redbirds’ offense to 32.4 percent (11-for-34) shooting to take a 36-27 lead into the break.
In the second half, Loyola held Illinois State to 31.3 percent shooting and outscored the Redbirds 29-22 to seal the victory.
Analysis: Loyola was led by senior forward Donte Ingram and first-year center Cameron Krutwig. Ingram — the Arch Madness Most Outstanding Player — led all scorers with 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Krutwig had 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Senior guard Ben Richardson added eight points and five rebounds to the effort and picked up All-Tournament Team honors. Redshirt junior guard Marques Townes — despite scoring four points in the championship victory — also picked up All-Tournament Team honors.
What’s next? The Ramblers locked up a spot in the NCAA tournament with the victory. Their opponent and the location of the game will be announced March 11.