The Loyola men’s basketball team (5-2) took down Arizona State University (ASU) 77-59 in the final game of the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis to take seventh place in the tournament Nov. 26.
“I’m really pleased, after losing two days in a row, two really emotional games,” Loyola head coach Drew Valentine said. “It’s not easy to come back and win a game like tonight, after you’re sitting around all day and you’re seeing the other teams… I think that speaks about the culture that we have.”
This was the third time the Ramblers and the Sun Devils have met and the first time since 1972. Arizona State entered the contest leading the series between the teams 2-0.
ASU was selected to finish seventh out of 12 teams in the Pac-12 Conference and came into the game with a 2-4 record for the season so far. Loyola went into the third day of the tournament with a 4-2 record, taking both losses in the Bahamas.
The Ramblers are now 13-19 against Pac-12 competitors, redeeming themselves after falling to Pac-12 member Oregon State University 65-58 during the 2021 Sweet Sixteen March 27.
Loyola took the lead four minutes into the first half and fought hard to hold onto it, heading into halftime 39-33. The Ramblers were also aggressive with rebounds, logging 14 defensive and 6 offensive rebounds at the half.
The Ramblers weren’t hesitant to shoot from beyond the arc, going 6-12 in three point attempts during the first period — which senior forward Ryan Schwieger said Valentine has been encouraging the players to take.
“We were all making threes today,” Schwieger said. “When we get open shots, like Coach Drew says, we trust our training and we believe in ourselves. They encourage us more than anything else to shoot it … go out there and be confident when you shoot the ball.”
Graduate guard Lucas Williamson received his second foul with less than seven minutes left in the first half, sending him to the bench for the rest of the period. This caused Loyola to lose momentum, as ASU was able to shorten the Ramblers’ lead to just four points with 41 seconds left in the period.
Loyola fell into trouble early in the second half, with Williamson receiving a double technical foul less than 30 seconds into the period. The rest of the roster stepped up immediately, going on a 9-2 run for the next four minutes of gameplay after Williamson returned to the bench.
Despite the potential threat, the Ramblers were able to pull through offensively in the second half, taking off after sophomore center Jacob Hutson made the first two baskets of the period back-to-back.
“My teammates just got me in a good position to get the ball,” Hutson said. “They were hitting me on the rolls, hitting me on the wide open threes and all that. We just share the ball super well.”
Hutson was crucial to the Ramblers success against the Sun Devils, recording a career high 26 points — 17 of which were made in the second half. Hutson went 9-13 in shooting, making all three attempts from beyond the arc and contributing five rebounds to boot.
Schwieger also scored in double digits, bringing in 11 points for the Ramblers.
“I thought [Hutson] was outstanding all tournament,” Valentine said. “This wasn’t just a one-game thing, this was brewing the whole time. I thought [Schwieger] was outstanding and this is on both ends of the floor.”
Loyola will return to Gentile Arena to face Indiana State University in its first game of MVC play. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m CT and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago.