Loyola Completes Season Sweep of SLU Taking Jesuit Jam Win 77-62

The A-10 has renewed an old rivalry between Loyola and SLU which dates back over a century. The teams first met in January 1922.

Men’s basketball took down Saint Louis University 77-62 in the Jesuit Jam at Gentile Arena completing the season sweep of the rival Billikens and improving to 6-2 in Atlantic 10 play. 

Third-year guard Des Watson was the leading scorer for Loyola with 20 points. Graduate guard Braden Norris turned in a great game with 16 points and graduate guard Greg Dolan finished with 12 points. Redshirt third-year guard Gibson Jimerson led the way for SLU with 14 points.

The Ramblers entered play 13-7 and 5-2 in conference looking to get back on track after coming up short 74-67 against Virginia Commonwealth University Jan. 23. The Billikens made the trek to Chicago at 8-12 overall and a league worst 1-6 in A-10 play.

The A-10 has renewed an old rivalry between Loyola and SLU which dates back over a century. The teams first met in January 1922 and have met 50 times since with the Ramblers now holding a 26-24 head-to-head edge over the Billikens. 

Second-year guard Jayden Dawson missed the game with an ankle injury and fourth-year guard Sheldon Edwards started in Dawson’s place. Loyola head coach Drew Valentine said he wasn’t sure when Dawson would be ready to return. 

Jimerson got the game going with a corner 3-pointer but the Ramblers put their foot on the gas with three slam-dunks in the first two minutes. First-year center Miles Rubin kicked it off with a nasty reverse one-hand jam, then fourth-year forward Philip Alston got open under the basket for a raucous slam. 

Alston placed the momentum firmly in Loyola’s hands when Watson intercepted a pass and threw a lob to him, finishing it with force and sending SLU into an early timeout down 6-3. The Billikens stayed with it and a 3-pointer by fourth-year forward Terrence Hargrove Jr. and a reverse layup by Jimerson gave them the lead right back at 9-8. 

Two more SLU scores inside put Loyola on their back heels until Watson broke through with a 3-pointer closing the Billiken lead to 13-11. Third-year SLU guard Sincere Parker sank two tough mid-range jumpers, sticking the Ramblers in an 18-11 hole. 

Watson ended a lengthy Loyola scoring drought when he connected from the corner for another 3-pointer. SLU extended their lead after third-year forward Bradley Ezewiro stretched for a reverse lay-in and a technical foul was called on the Rambler bench. Jimerson made one at the line to give the Billikens a 21-14 lead. 

Norris drained an arching three then hit two free throws to bring Loyola within three at 24-21. Jimerson made two free throws then unselfish play by the Ramblers set up Dolan in the corner for a 3-pointer to draw Loyola within two at 26-24. 

Edwards followed it up with another three from the corner giving the lead back to Loyola and bringing Gentile Arena to its feet. Dolan scored in the paint then him and graduate forward Dame Adelekun ran a give-and-go to perfection making it 33-30 Loyola. Norris hit another 3-pointer sending the Ramblers to the break with a 36-31 lead.

Loyola came out hot in the second and went on a fast 6-2 run thanks to 3-point plays from Alston and Norris. Jimerson came back and scored through a foul to convert on his own 3-point play to cut the Loyola lead to 43-38.

Graduate forward Tom Welch and second-year guard Jalen Quinn both finished through contact inside and Dolan drained a deep mid-range jumper as the Ramblers extended their lead to 48-40. Norris capped off a 10-2 Loyola run with a 3-pointer putting SLU on their backfoot down 56-40. 

Parker strung together some scores to rejuvenate the Billikens offense and cut the Loyola lead to 10 at 56-46. Watson came right back and scored through a foul to keep the momentum with the Ramblers. 

Watson helped build on the lead when Norris found him from across the court for a corner 3-pointer. A few possessions later he drained a step back three to make it 65-48. 

Hargrove Jr. provided SLU with a bright point when he got an open lane and finished with a hard one-hand slam cutting the Loyola lead to 68-54. SLU fouled down the stretch to extend the game which helped Loyola build up their point total as the seconds ticked away and the Ramblers claimed a 77-62 victory. 

Valentine said it was great to see different players step up and play well in different roles as the team adjusted to Dawson’s absence from the lineup. 

“There was just a lot of improvements we had versus SLU this time around and our guys were ready for the moment and obviously the crowd helps a lot,” Valentine said. 

Loyola continued their run as the A-10’s top assist team finishing with 19 to SLU’s nine. The Ramblers struggled to hold onto the ball and surrendered 16 turnovers while the Billikens gave up just 12. The teams were even in rebounding with 32 while Loyola blocked eight shots to SLU’s six. 
The Ramblers return to Gentile Arena Sunday, Feb. 4 when they take on Davidson College. First-tip is scheduled for 12 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. 

Featured image by D’Niya Little-Segars | The Phoenix

Griffin Krueger

Griffin Krueger