Four days after defeating Ball State University on the road, the Loyola men’s basketball team (6-4) returned to Gentile Arena for the first time since Nov. 20 to face Division II school Quincy University Saturday afternoon. The Ramblers defeated the Hawks 90-59 to extend their win streak to three.
The Hawks came into the game 3-3 after going 9-19 overall and 3-15 in Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) play last season. Loyola fell to the University of Indianapolis — one of Quincy’s conference opponents — in an exhibition game prior to the season.
The game will count toward Loyola’s record, but not toward Quincy’s since it’s a Division II school. It also won’t impact Loyola’s ranking in the NCAA Evaluation Tool — a metric used to help determine which teams receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Loyola junior guard Lucas Williamson scored 25 points on 8-for-9 shooting and 7-for-8 shooting from beyond the three-point line. Coming into the game, Williamson was 12-for-42 from deep in nine games, but said he knew he just had to keep shooting.
“I saw the first one going in,” Williamson said. “After that, my teammates did a great job putting me in the right position and I put in the time and I kept shooting.”
Junior center Cameron Krutwig and first-year guard Marquise Kennedy joined Williamson as the only three Loyola players in double figures, combining for 54 points and going a combined 22-for-28 from the field. As a team in the first half, the Ramblers shot 17-for-27 from the field and 8-for-11 from beyond the three-point line — adding 11 assists, as well.
Loyola now has both junior guard Keith Clemons and sophomore forward Franklin Agunanne back after both missed the start of the season with injuries. With their return, Moser said this team is one of the deeper squads he’s coached.
“We’ve been deep before,” Moser said. “I remember being asked a question of Donte [Ingram], Marques [Townes] and Clayton [Custer] will have a big game, what happened to Ben [Richardson] and Krutwig? It’s the benefit about being deep. We’re deeper.”
Loyola started the game off strong, going on a 12-0 run forcing three turnovers in the first four defensive possessions. The Ramblers carried this momentum throughout the first half, taking a 46-25 lead into halftime. Moser credited the fast start to why the Ramblers played well the entire game.
“I thought the start was the key,” Moser said. “We have a lot of respect for these guys and you can’t give them confidence early. I thought our guys came out with a really good mentality, it’s about playing our best. I thought [our starting five] set the tone in the first five minutes.”
The Ramblers continued to roll throughout the second half as Krutwig scored 10 of his 18 points after the break. Tempers flared, though, as Quincy junior Charles Callier picked up a technical foul late in the half. The Ramblers would go on to outscore the Hawks 44-33 in the half to seal the victory.
On the bench for Loyola was former Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Player of the Year Clayton Custer, who Moser says could potentially join the coaching staff as the team will make a formal announcement this upcoming week.
“He’s deciding his next move right now,” Moser said. “Him and I have been talking about the coaching world and see if he wants to do this. The position would be assistant director of player development.”
Loyola will look to extend its winning streak against Norfolk State University Dec. 15 at Gentile. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN3.