March Madness

Offensive Woes Doom Loyola In First Round, Eliminated by Ohio State

On a Friday morning in Pittsburgh, No. 7-seeded Loyola and No. 10-seeded Ohio State University went head-to-head at PPG Paints Arena for the chance to advance to the second round of March Madness. The March 18 matchup saw the Ohio State Buckeyes excel at controlling the Ramblers offensively, and Loyola was eliminated 54-41.

EJ Liddell led the game in points, notching 16 total. On the Loyola side of things, the Ramblers were led by 14 points from junior guard Braden Norris . 

Loyola won the first possession of the game, and the first points were put on the board by senior forward Chris Knight nearly two minutes in. The Buckeyes’ quickly tied it up with two free throws from Liddell.

The first three-pointer of the game came from senior forward Ryan Schwieger 3:35 into the game, giving Loyola the lead once again. Ohio State finally made its first shot from the floor with a shot from Kyle Young nearly four minutes into the matchup, and tied the game at five when he sank a freebie soon after. This capped off the Buckeyes’ 5-0 run.

Loyola proceeded to experience a 4:04 scoring drought, broken by an alley-oop score from Knight, assisted byNorris. However, both teams would head into another scoring drought, with Loyola and Ohio State shooting just 20% and 25% from the floor, respectively, with nine minutes to go in the half.

A layup from senior forward Aher Uguak finally broke Loyola’s 03:58 drought in order to tie the game at nine, and a layup from Schwieger brought the Rambler lead up 11-9. However, it wouldn’t last as Malaki Branham from Ohio State would tie the game again at 11.

However, Ohio State would soon tally six more points in succession in order to achieve a 17-11 lead with five minutes to play. Norris came in clutch for the Ramblers, though, and sank a three-pointer to cut the Buckeyes’ lead to three.

With a dunk from Liddell, the lead would soon stretch back up to five points, and then to seven with a layup from Zed Key. Two minutes remained in the half, and Ohio State managed to secure a 23-14 lead.

Another three-pointer from Norris managed to put the Ramblers back within five in the final minute of the half, and the score remained at 23-18 to close the half. 

Loyola finished the first half shooting a low 23.3% from the field, while Ohio State managed to shoot 45.5%. Manham was the only player on the court to tally double digit points with 10.

The second half kicked off with the Buckeyes quickly extending their lead to 11 points and increasing the score to 29-18. Norris broke the Ramblers’ initial drought with a three at 16:31. 

Ohio State would go on to take the largest lead of the game so far at 14 points, but it would be cut by a Williamson three at 12:46 — the Buckeyes still held a double digit lead with 37-26. Loyola would soon go off on a 6-0 run of its own, bringing the game back within nine points with just under 11 minutes to play.

The lead remained around 10 points through the next few minutes, but with nearly six minutes left to play, Ohio State picked the lead back up to 14 points. Loyola continued to lower its free throw shooting percentage — the team would only make three the entire time compared to Ohio State’s 17 — as graduate guard Lucas Williamson failed to sink his two.

As the Buckeyes’ lead stretched to 15 points with 1:21 to play, the Ramblers couldn’t overtake them. Graduate forward Uguak, senior forward Ryan Schwieger and Williamson were subbed out in the final minute and senior forward Will Alcock missed his final layup as Loyola was eliminated from the 2022 NCAA Tournament with a score of 54-41.

The No. 7-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes will go on to face the winner of No. 2-seeded Villanova University and No. 15-seeded University of Delaware in Pittsburgh March 20. Tip-off time and broadcast information have yet to be announced. 

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