Men's Basketball

Second Half Surge Doesn’t Help, Men’s Basketball Loses to No. 25 Richmond

Steve Woltmann | Loyola AthleticsLoyola redshirt sophomore guard Braden Norris led the Ramblers with 21 points Dec. 18.

Despite outscoring No. 25-ranked University of Richmond 51-38 in the second half, the Loyola men’s basketball team (3-2) wasn’t able to overcome its first half deficit and lost 75-73 against the Spiders. 

After a bleak first half for the Ramblers, recording a total of 15 turnovers, Loyola was able to regain its footing and put pressure on the Spiders in the second half. However, it wasn’t enough to completely recover and secure the win.

Richmond started off strong from the opening tip, holding a lead over the Ramblers almost immediately. Loyola was only 1-for-8 in three-point shooting in the first half, with its lone three coming from redshirt senior guard Tate Hall. As the Spiders’ lead climbed into the double-digits, senior center Cameron Krutwig was able to score for the Ramblers and bring it within 10 points with just over four minutes left. Richmond responded with a 10-3 run to take a 37-22 lead into halftime.

Kicking off the second half, Richmond brought its lead up early to make it 42-22. The Ramblers responded well, however, and came back to tally six three-pointers in the second half, with two from redshirt sophomore guard Braden Norris. 

Loyola went on a 7-0 run in the last few minutes of the game, and Norris scored again to put the team within four points at just under two minutes left. Although the Ramblers rallied hard at the end of the game, it wasn’t enough to make up for their first half slump, and Loyola ended the game a mere two points behind. 

Out of the 15 turnovers the Ramblers suffered in the first half, the Spiders were able to score 18 points. Loyola head coach Porter Moser said he credited it not so much to a failure on the Loyola side but as a testament to the strength of Richmond’s defense.

“They really took it to us, and we didn’t respond well,” he said. “It was their pressure, we just didn’t handle their pressure … but the character trait that we showed fighting back in the second half says a lot about who we are.”

Norris led Loyola in points, tallying 21 with 8-for-12 shooting. Richmond’s redshirt senior guard Blake Francis led the game in points with 27 on 9-for-17 shooting.

This is Loyola’s second loss to a ranked team this week, falling 77-64 to No. 12 University of Wisconsin Dec. 15. The Spiders were 4-1 heading into this game, with their only loss against No. 11 West Virginia University. They played one other ranked team this year, No. 10 University of Kentucky, and won 76-64. 

The Ramblers are set to begin their conference season against Illinois State University at Gentile Arena Dec. 27. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago.

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