The Loyola men’s basketball team will finally take the court for the first time in the 2020-21 season. The long wait — marked by the “majority” of the team contracting COVID-19 — ends Dec. 5 when the Ramblers host Division II team Lewis University at Gentile Arena, Loyola announced Dec. 3.
Fans won’t be permitted in Gentile Arena but can watch the game on ESPN+ or listen on the Rambler Radio Network via LoyolaRamblers.com.
Redshirt senior guard Tate Hall said after playing each other since July, the team is ready for some outside action.
“We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” Hall said. “This year has brought some challenges but we’ve battled through that. We’re all just really excited to get going and play someone else.”
After a two-week break due to the positive COVID-19 tests, the Ramblers have only been back to practice for a week. Despite the quick turnaround of scheduling a game on a Thursday and playing on a Saturday, Hall said he’s confident in the team’s abilities.
“Everyone’s back to close to normal,” Hall said. “Having those two weeks off, we’re going to be a little bit winded. I think we’ll be ready. When the ball first tips you get this sense of adrenaline I think that’s going to play a big factor for us.”
This will be the first time in 45 years Loyola and Lewis will face each other in the regular season. Loyola is up 6-2 in the all-time series. The last time the two teams faced each other in a regular season match-up was Dec. 2, 1975 when the Ramblers earned a 98-67 victory.
The Flyers played the Ramblers in 2017 during an exhibition match at Gentile Arena. It was Loyola’s first game that season — which eventually ended in the team playing in the Final Four of March Madness.
While Loyola is Division I and Lewis is Division II, that doesn’t mean it’s a guaranteed win for the Ramblers. Loyola lost to Division II University of Indianapolis 65-60 in its first game 2019-20.
Loyola returns all five starters from last year’s squad, including All-Missouri Valley Conference seniors Cameron Krutwig and Hall.
Tip-off against Lewis is set for 2 p.m.