Spirits were low in Rogers Park after the No. 8-seeded Loyola men’s basketball team lost to No. 12-seeded Oregon State, ending its hopes of heading back to the Final Four.
“It’s sad, but they put up a good fight,” said first-year communications major Emily Bauer — her words a summation of the emotions felt in the area surrounding Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus.
She was joined by dozens of other students who walked down Sheridan Road near the university grounds after the game, often grieving with friends over the loss — a bleak contrast to last weekend’s celebration after the team’s win over No. 1-seeded Illinois.
“It was a good game,” said Steven Poremba, a senior studying international relations at Loyola. “Oregon State played great. … Somebody has to lose and unfortunately today it was us.”
Poremba — who transferred to Loyola after the 2018 Final Four run but was on campus for the celebrations — said this year’s run was still something to be proud of, though he hopes the team’s star seniors take advantage of the extra year of eligibility the NCAA granted to winter sport athletes.
“Sweet 16, you can’t be mad about it,” Poremba. “You just gotta be happy we made it this far. … I’m just hoping those guys like Krutwig and Williamson stick around.”
Neither senior center Cameron Krutwig nor senior guard Lucas Williamson have confirmed whether they will stay another year.
“I have not [thought about coming back],” Krutwig said when asked about staying in the post-game press conference. “I’m just trying to enjoy these guys’ company.”
Some students commended Oregon State’s ability to shut down the normally dominant Ramblers. The Sweet 16 loss marked the first time this season Loyola had been kept to less than 20 points in the first half.
Nicolas Soto-Hay, a first-year studying entrepreneurship and marketing, said the Beavers prepared well but shifted his focus to the future when it came to the Ramblers.
“They had a good game plan and they locked us out,” the 19-year-old said. “I just hope we can be back here next year, take another [win] and finally get that championship. … We’ve got a winning culture, it’s just a matter of keeping that going.”
Soto-Hay wasn’t the only student looking to the potential for success next year, though. Logan Silva, a first-year studying criminal justice, said there’s more hope for the future beyond just expectations for the team to return to the Big Dance — he said Loyola has a chance to create a reputation for itself.
“I could see Loyola being a big power basketball school,” Silva said. “I know coach [Porter Moser] has faith and I know all the students have faith. That’s all you need.”