The Loyola men’s basketball (3-5) team fell 78-72 to DePaul University Dec. 3 in the second Red Line rivalry match in the last two years. The Blue Devils’ streaky late-game run and perfect shooting from the floor in overtime gave DePaul the win despite Loyola senior guard Marquise Kennedy’s career-high 26 points. DePaul won the …
Kennedy’s Career High 26 Points Not Enough In Loyola’s Overtime Loss to DePaul
The Loyola men’s basketball (3-5) team fell 78-72 to DePaul University Dec. 3 in the second Red Line rivalry match in the last two years. The Blue Devils’ streaky late-game run and perfect shooting from the floor in overtime gave DePaul the win despite Loyola senior guard Marquise Kennedy’s career-high 26 points.
DePaul won the tip-off to start the game, but couldn’t get going on offense as a result of Loyola’s high defensive pressure. On offense, the Ramblers committed two turnovers in their first two possessions off bad passes from redshirt senior guard Braden Norris and senior forward Tom Welch.
Umoja Gibson put the Blue Devils on the board first, stealing the ball and driving to the rim with an open look, but their lead wouldn’t last long. Senior guard Marquise Kennedy caught fire early in the game, scoring a three-pointer and a layup on back-to-back possessions to put Loyola up by three.
DePaul’s Jevan Johnson responded with a layup to shorten the Blue Devils’ deficit to one, but redshirt first-year Ben Schwieger and senior guard Tom Welch contributed two points each to put Loyola up 9-4.
DePaul was able to shorten its deficit to three again with a layup by Eral Penn, but it would be the Blue Devils’ last score in the next five minutes of the game. During DePaul’s scoring drought, Loyola scored 12 unanswered points off the hands of six different players.
DePaul was able to snap out of its drought with a little over nine minutes to go in the half with one free throw and a three-pointer by Gebrewhit Philmon. The next four scores would be three-pointers as well, three by the Ramblers and one by the Blue Devils, giving Loyola its largest lead of the game at 17.
The rest of the half was neck-and-neck, featuring five points off free throws for the Blue Devils to cut their deficit to 13 going into the half.
Going into halftime, the Ramblers shot a mesmerizing 68.2% from the floor and a 62.5% from three-point territory in the first half. Kennedy led the game in scoring with 13 points, going 3-4 from beyond the arc. DePaul struggled on offense, shooting 32% from the floor and scoring a mere two three-pointers in 10 attempts.
DePaul hit the ground running to start the second half with a 7-0 run, sparked by a dunk and three-pointer by Johnson to cut its deficit to six. However, the Ramblers struck back stronger, with eight unanswered points from four different players to set the score at 46-31.
DePaul took control of the game shortly after, as a jumper marked the start of a blazing 16-3 run, including two three-pointers by Jalen Terry and Gibson. Kennedy helped the Ramblers snap out of their nearly three-minute scoring drought with a pair of free throws, but Gibson struck back with another three-pointer to put the Blue Devils within one.
The Ramblers continued to struggle on offense, committing two more turnovers, the latter resulting in another Gibson three-pointer to give the Blue Devils their first lead of the game at 53-51 since the second minute of the game.
A layup by Welch would tie the game at 53, but Terry secured a three-point lead for DePaul with a step back three-pointer. DePaul kept the lead until just over one minute remained. Down three, an alley-oop dunk from Norris to Welch would put the Ramblers within one. Driving to the rim on Loyola’s next possession, Welch was fouled and was able to score one of two free throws to tie the game at 60 and send the game into overtime.
Loyola’s shooting saw a drastic decrease in accuracy, dropping to 39.1% from the floor, and 22.2% from three-point territory. In contrast, DePaul shot 50% from the floor, with an even higher percentage from three-point territory of 54.5%.
Kennedy put on a clinic in overtime for the Ramblers, scoring nine out of the team’s 12 points. However, DePaul’s Johnson and Gibson stole the show, 18 points to take the game 78-72. Johnson and Gibson took all the shots for the Blue Devils in overtime, shooting a perfect 4-4 from the floor and 3-3 from beyond the arc.
Loyola Head Coach Drew Valentine said they looked like a high level team in the first half, but spoke on the team’s mistakes in the second.
“We had a couple costly turnovers, I thought our offense stagnated a little bit where we were flowing offensively in the first half,” Loyola Head Coach Drew Valentine said. “And then the last part I think a lot of [DePaul’s] players made plays at the end of the day.”
Up next, the Ramblers will take on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in Gentile Arena Dec. 6. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and is set to be broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago+.