In its first NCAA Tournament game since 1985, No. 11 seed Loyola (29-5, 15-3) upset No. 6 seed University of Miami (Fla.) 64-62 on senior forward Donte Ingram’s buzzer-beating three-pointer in front of a crowd of over 15,800 fans. The crowd consisted of mostly Loyola fans while some Miami fans sat behind the Hurricanes’ bench.
The game was tied 28-28 at halftime and Loyola came out sluggish to start the half. The Ramblers made one of their first six shots to open the half as Miami took a 39-32 lead with 15:49 left in the game. Loyola came back to make it a 44-40 Miami lead and the game went back-and-forth from there.
Three plays helped seal the victory for Loyola. The first was when redshirt junior guard Clayton Custer hit a corner three-pointer to tie the game 60-60 with one minute left. Custer said the team worked on that play all season and gave credit to head coach Porter Moser for drawing it up.
“That’s another example of Ben [Richardson] knowing where I’m going to be before anybody else knows where I’m going to be … we work on situations like that in the last four minutes every day in practice,” Custer said. “We’ve worked on that action 100 times. We felt comfortable running it and we executed it perfectly.”
The second play which helped Loyola win was first-year guard Lucas Williamson forcing a Hurricane turnover with 26 seconds left. Williamson described the play as one in which he read who the ball would go to and followed the ball to force the turnover off Miami guard Lonnie Walker IV’s leg.
“I knew he was going to swipe through [because] as an offensive player, you’re supposed to swipe through and dribble up the court so you don’t get fouled,” Williamson said. “I kind of just guessed where the ball would be and luckily I hit it, it bounced off his leg and forced a turnover.”
The final play was Ingram’s buzzer-beating three-pointer. After Loyola missed two layups, Miami got the ball and Walker was fouled by redshirt junior guard Marques Townes with nine seconds left. Walker missed the free throw and Richardson got the rebound. Townes took the ball and passed it to Ingram from deep three-point territory to seal the victory.
In the postgame press conference, Ingram said the magnitude of the moment hadn’t set in yet, but he said he’d been dreaming of hitting a buzzer-beating shot in March Madness since he was young.
“As a kid, this is what you grow up seeing, hoping that you can be in that moment,” Ingram said. “For me to be in this position with these guys, with this coaching staff, I wouldn’t want it any other way and I’m just blessed to hit that shot and I’m happy that we can get on and advance to [playing against No. 11 seed University of] Tennessee.”
Students back at Loyola’s campus watched the game at viewing parties in the Damen Student Center, Schreiber Center and other venues around campus. They took to social media to showcase their reactions.
The Ramblers are scheduled to take on No. 3 seed University of Tennessee March 17 in Dallas at 5:10 p.m.