INDIANAPOLIS – Fates don’t necessarily change in an instant in the NCAA Tournament, but they certainly can from game-to-game.
Last Sunday against one of the nation’s best teams, Loyola delivered a textbook March performance against top-seeded Illinois. They never trailed over the course of 40 minutes as they knocked off the Illini by 13 points to advance to the Sweet 16.
At that point, it looked like the Ramblers were on their way to another deep run in the tournament with another surprise team, Oregon State, waiting in the Midwest Region semifinals.
But the dominance they showed on Sunday wasn’t there on this Saturday, especially on the offensive end. After getting to 71 points in their first two games, Loyola had trouble finding the net the entire afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse against the Beavers.
While their defense was solid, their offense couldn’t get it going, and just like that, a tournament window was slammed shut.
Oregon State beat Loyola 65-58 on Saturday afternoon to end their season as the cold-shooting Ramblers simply couldn’t get going. Porter Moser’s team finishes the season with a 26-5 record, and this performance provides a bitter end to another “Sweet” season.
Loyola shot just 18-of-54 from the field (33.3 percent) while hitting just 5-of-23 three-point attempts. There were even a bit off at the free throw line, hitting 17-of-24 on the afternoon, and it wasn’t enough for their strong defense to overcome.
Cameron Krutwig shot 6-of-12 from the field for 14 points while Lucas Williamson (3-of-11) and Braden Norris (3-of-7) contributed ten. They were the only Ramblers in double figures and it wasn’t enough, despite the fact that they held the Beavers to 41.2 percent shooting and forced ten turnovers.
Offensive issues were there for the Ramblers right from the start in the first half as the defenses dominated the day. It was back-and-forth until the end of the first half, when Oregon State’s 11-0 run put them up by eight at the half.
For the first 20 minutes, Loyola shot 17.4 percent from the floor and scored just 18 points, leaving them in a hole to dig out of in the second half.
The Beavers wouldn’t let up in the second half and built the lead to 13 points on a dunk by Ethan Thompson, but the Ramblers would eventually scrap together a rally. Aher Ugak’s layup with 3:31 to go would get Loyola within three points, but they’d get no closer.
Oregon State had an answer for every major play and the Ramblers’ offense could never get it going, leading to the end of another tournament run after three games.