No. 11 seed Loyola (31-5, 15-3) defeated No. 7 seed University of Nevada 69-68 to advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1963, when it won the national championship.
“It’s been a season-long journey … of believing that we can win,” head coach Porter Moser said. “These guys have found ways to win. We focus in on the process of the game and things we’ve got to do in the game.”
Redshirt junior guard Marques Townes led the Ramblers with 18 points, including the game-winning three-pointer with seven seconds left. Townes said he’ll never forget hitting that final shot.
“I’ll probably remember it for the rest of my life,” Townes said. “I mean, it doesn’t really get any better than that. [Redshirt junior guard] Clay [Custer] made a great play, got downhill [and] kicked me to the corner. The [defender] came flying at me. I just gave him a little shot fake, and I shot it and it went in … that’s something you dream about.”
Townes scored 15 points over two games to start the tournament – seven points against University of Miami and eight points against University of Tennessee. Moser said he wasn’t surprised Townes had a big night on such a big stage.
“I didn’t look at it as Marques being quiet,” Moser said. “He was a warrior. He made warrior plays that we see a lot on the tape … I don’t think any one of our coaches looked at it and said [he was] quiet tonight.”
The Ramblers are scheduled to take on the winner of No. 5 seed University of Kentucky vs. No. 9 seed Kansas State University March 24. The game time had not been announced at the time of publication.