With a chance to take sole possession of first place in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), the Loyola men’s basketball team (12-8, 5-2) turned in its worst offensive performance of the year in a 70-35 defeat to Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri Wednesday night.
The loss was one of the Ramblers’ lowest points of season to date, as they shot a paltry 34.3 percent from the field, committed 14 turnovers and dished only six assists in a shocker as their four-game conference winning streak came to a rough end. Leading the Ramblers in the defeat was sophomore center Cameron Krutwig who finished with 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting but failed to grab a single rebound.
The offensive collapse led to Loyola’s lowest point total since scoring just 29 in a 66-29 loss to University of Wisconsin-Madison Nov. 14, 1998. Only three Ramblers — Krutwig and redshirt senior guards Marques Townes and Clayton Custer — made shots from the field. Townes had 12 points on 5-for-9 shooting while Custer just 1-for-7 from the field for three points.
Redshirt sophomore guard Aher Uguak made two free throws and junior guard Bruno Skokna hit three from the charity stripe.
The first half saw the Ramblers get off to a middling start as Missouri State led 16-11 at the second media timeout as Krutwig paced them with six points on 3-for-5 shooting. This would set a tone for the rest of the half as Loyola struggled to gain ground on a hot-shooting Bears team as Missouri State took a 30-24 lead into the locker room after Keandre Cook’s three-pointer at the buzzer was waved off.
The second half was an utter domination by the Bears as they outscored the Ramblers 40-11 in the final 20 minutes. Loyola struggled to find any form of a rhythm offensively and Missouri State continued its torrid shooting from the first half with a 63.4 percent clip after the break compared to 34.3 percent from Loyola.
Along with these shooting woes, the Ramblers struggled mightily on the glass. The Bears grabbed 28 boards while the Ramblers grabbed just nine. The game also marked the first time Krutwig failed to pick up a rebound since Dec. 30, 2017 against University of Evansville.
The significance of the loss was magnified by the Ramblers’ failure to convert on their chance to claim sole possession of first place in the MVC standings. Loyola remains tied with Valparaiso University with a record of 5-2 in conference play after the Crusaders lost to Indiana State University 70-53.
Updated #MVCHoops Standings through 7 games:— Nick Schultz (@NickSchultz_7) January 24, 2019
1. Loyola 5-2
1. Valparaiso 5-2
3. Illinois State 4-3
3. Drake 4-3
5. Indiana State 3-4
5. Evansville 3-4
5. Northern Iowa 3-4
5. Southern Illinois 3-4
5. Missouri State 3-4
10. Bradley 2-5
The Ramblers are next scheduled to play Southern Illinois University on Sunday Jan. 27 at 3 p.m. at Gentile Arena in a game that will be nationally broadcasted on ESPNU.