Behind another impressive performance from sophomore center Cameron Krutwig, the Loyola men’s basketball team (3-1) defeated Grambling State University 80-64 at Gentile Arena Friday night.
Krutwig scored a game-high 19 points to go along with seven rebounds. The reigning Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year went into the game shooting 15-for-15 on the season. He missed his first shot, but finished 8-for-10 on the night.
In addition to Krutwig, Loyola had three other players score in double figures. Redshirt senior guard Clayton Custer scored 17 points while fellow redshirt senior guard Marques Townes chipped in 16. First-year guard Cooper Kaifes contributed 10 points.
Loyola head coach Porter Moser said sophomore guard Lucas Williamson was one of the most important players despite scoring only three points. Williamson also grabbed nine rebounds and dished out six assists, but it was his defense that Moser raved about in the postgame press conference.
“Lucas Williamson continues to be one of our most important guys and he had three points,” Moser said. “His defense, his energy … I just love where he’s at.”
Townes echoed Moser’s thoughts and said Williamson affected the game in ways that don’t show up on the stat sheet.
“Everything we’re about is what Lucas did today,” Townes said. “He didn’t have a big scoring night, but he impacted the game in so many ways … if we all play like that from the jump, then we’ll be a really good team.”
Once again, Loyola started off slowly; the score was tied 25-25 with five minutes remaining in the first half. Then, the Ramblers went on a 15-4 run to end the half, and never relinquished the lead.
After shooting 5-for-19 from three-point territory against Niagara University Nov. 14, Loyola converted 7 of its 16 three-point attempts against Grambling State. Custer and Kaifes each went 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Moser said one of the biggest positives of the game was the ability for the bench to get playing time. Loyola had four players play over 12 minutes off the bench, including Kaifes. Moser stuck with the bench even when Loyola’s lead began to shrink midway through the second half.
“We’re not going to be good if we’re playing four guys 38 minutes,” Moser said. “The more minutes [the bench] gets, the more seasoned they’ll be. [The lead] got under 20 [points], but I wanted them to fight through some things.”
Next up, Loyola’s scheduled travel to Fort Myers, Florida to take on Richmond University Nov. 19 at 5:30 p.m. as part of the Fort Myers Tip-Off tournament.