After a lackluster start to the year, the Loyola men’s basketball team (2-2) beat St. Joseph’s University 85-68 at Gentile Arena Saturday afternoon on the back of junior center Cameron Krutwig, who scored 24 points and dished out seven assists.
First-year guard Marquise Kennedy and redshirt junior guard Tate Hall each scored 16 points. Kennedy also blocked two shots while Hall grabbed seven boards.
Redshirt junior forward Aher Uguak was the fourth Rambler to score in double figures, contributing 12 points.
The Ramblers overcame a 45-42 halftime deficit to the Hawks, outscoring St. Joseph’s 43-23 in the second half. The Hawks started the game on fire from beyond the arc, shooting 9-for-16 from three-point territory in the first half. However, the Hawks’ shooting fell flat in the second half, going 3-for-18 from downtown after the break.
“[Kennedy] had some big shots. … He’s going to be really, really good for us.”Porter Moser, head coach
Hawks’ redshirt junior guard Ryan Daly entered this game averaging 21.3 points per game and fresh off a 30-point game against the University of Connecticut Nov. 13. The Ramblers held Daly to 13 points on 4-for-13 shooting, but the guard grabbed 10 boards and tallied six assists.
Loyola head coach Porter Moser said Daly’s driving ability punished the Ramblers, especially in the first half. Moser said Daly would drive past a Rambler defender and then kick out to an open St. Joseph’s shooter.
“I think [Daly’s] a terrific player,” Moser said. “I think he’s the key to the team. …. [We] really tried to not let him get much penetration in deep because he’s such a good passer.”
The Ramblers forced 24 St. Joseph’s turnovers, while Loyola only committed 12. In the second half, Loyola scored 17 points following a St. Joseph’s turnover, compared the Hawks scoring just two points following a Loyola turnover.
St. Joseph’s junior forward Taylor Funk scored 13 points in the first half on 4-for-4 shooting, but was held to just two points in the second half. Krutwig said it was difficult to defend in this game because the Hawks ran a “five out” offense, meaning all five players are mainly on the perimeter without anybody spending much time near the basket.
While he struggled on the perimeter, Krutwig and Loyola dominated the inside game. The Ramblers scored 58 points in the paint, while St. Joseph’s managed only 20 points in the paint.
The loss drops St. Joseph’s to 2-2 on the season, after going 14-19 last year. The Hawks beat Loyola 45-42 when the two teams played in Philadelphia, PA last season.
Kennedy returned to the starting lineup for Loyola after coming off the bench against Coppin State University Nov. 12. Kennedy’s 16 points is a career-high, and the pair of three-pointers he knocked down were the first of his collegiate career.
Moser said Kennedy’s inexperience led to a few bad decisions, but also added that Kennedy made several key plays throughout the game.
“[Kennedy] had some big shots,” Moser said. “He’s continuing to learn. … He’s just so athletic, and he’s just gotta learn stuff. He had two fouls when we were up 12 or 14 [points] and they were in the bonus. … It’s just tightening stuff. He’s going to be really, really good for us.”
Midway through the second half, Krutwig “tweaked” his ankle, according to Moser. Krutwig returned to the game after getting his ankle looked at on the sideline. Moser said the team isn’t sure about the severity of the injury, but will know more in the next 24 hours.
Next, Loyola will play Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis at Gentile Arena Nov. 20. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago+.