Men's Basketball

Strong Second Half Sends Loyola Past Vanderbilt

Nick HesslerGraduate guard Lucas Williamson scored his 1,000th career point during the matchup with Vanderbilt Dec. 10.

Thanks to a strong offensive effort, the Loyola men’s basketball team took down the Vanderbilt University Commodores 69-58 in Nashville Dec. 10. Graduate guard Lucas Williamson also joined the 1,000 point club early on in the matchup.

Bolstered by redshirt junior guard Braden Norris’ 18 points, the Ramblers’ lineup also saw two other players pass the double-digit mark — senior forward Ryan Schwieger put up 14 points and Williamson contributed 11.

The game started off with a three-point shot from Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr. just over two minutes in. Williamson scored his own three-pointer a few seconds later to tie the game, and the Ramblers took the lead soon after thanks to a dunk from sophomore center Jacob Hutson. The lead would last for the remainder of the half.

For the entirety of the first half, the score stayed neck-and-neck — never increasing more than six points. Although the Commodores attempted to catch up to the Ramblers, they couldn’t make a substantial enough comeback to overtake the visitors.

In the last two minutes of the first half, Williamson scored a layup to put Loyola up 30-24. Although Vanderbilt tried to close the gap with a free throw from Jamaine Mann and a driving layup by Myles Stute, the home team trailed 30-27 heading into the half. 

The Ramblers dominated the Commodores in terms of shooting during the opening half. Loyola shot 50% from the field and three-point territory, while Vanderbilt went 32.1% from the field and 22.2% from three-point territory.

Norris put the first points on the board for the Ramblers in the second half with a three-pointer to extend their lead back to six points. The Commodores managed to creep up within two points just under four minutes in, but Loyola soon added more distance to the point gap.

Although the score got within two points again with just over 13 minutes on the clock, Loyola went on a 11-0 scoring run to widen its point gap to 13 points. Six of those points came from three-point shots by Norris.

Although Vanderbilt tried to combat the Ramblers’ offense, the Commodores couldn’t come up enough to take back the lead. Even with scoring the last five points of the game, the home team couldn’t catch up. Loyola took the game 69-58.

Out of the 17 three-pointers the Ramblers scored during the game, six came from Norris. Loyola ended the game shooting 45.9% from three-point territory while Vanderbilt only managed 15.8% — with only 10% success in the second half.

After finishing last season at No. 1 in Division I men’s basketball for scoring defense and capturing national attention for its defensive capabilities, Loyola holding the Commodores to a substantially low percentage showcased its abilities in the 2021-22 season. 

The Ramblers are next scheduled to host Norfolk State University at Gentile Arena Dec. 19. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. and the game is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN+ or ESPN3. 

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