Men's Basketball

Loyola Back in Three-Way Tie for First After Loss to Southern Illinois

Nick Schultz | The PhoenixLoyola redshirt senior guard Clayton Custer calls out a play against Southern Illinois.

The Loyola men’s basketball team (17-12, 10-6) fell to Southern Illinois University 63-53 in nail-biting fashion Sunday afternoon in Carbondale. The loss drops the Ramblers back into a three-way tie for first place with Drake University and Missouri State University in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) standings.

In the loss, the Ramblers were led by sophomore center Cameron Krutwig, who finished with 17 points and snagged four rebounds. Redshirt senior guard Clayton Custer also added 17 points on 7-14 shooting.

In the defeat, the Ramblers missed their chance to retake sole possession of first place in the MVC standings. Loyola started the day tied for the top spot with Drake, which lost to Illinois State University 67-60 in Normal.

Southern Illinois improved to 15-14 overall and 8-8 in MVC play with the victory and remains tied with Illinois State and Bradley University for fifth place in the standings. The Salukis were led by senior forward Armon Fletcher, who finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.

The first half saw the Ramblers jump out to an 8-2 advantage in the game’s first three minutes. Loyola finished the half shooting at a 52.2 percent clip from the field as Krutwig and Custer combined for 17 of their 30 first half points.

The Ramblers headed for the locker room with a 30-29 advantage as redshirt sophomore Aher Uguak saw his late jumper hit the bottom of the net as time expired.

Nick Schultz | The Phoenix Sophomore center Cameron Krutwig prepares to go up for a layup.

The second half saw Loyola struggle to take control as they shot 40 percent from the field while only making 10 field goals. The Ramblers were in contention with 2:07 remaining after redshirt senior Marques Townes made a layup and brought them within a point, 54-53.

These would be their last points of the game, however, as the Ramblers were overwhelmed by a late 9-0 run by SIU and the game finished 63-53.

The Ramblers’ season is scheduled to continue Feb. 27 as they take on University of Northern Iowa at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.

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