ISU goes cold as top-seeded Loyola charges to Valley title

Henrietta Strickland
March 5, 2018

Donte Ingram scored 18 points as top-seeded Loyola never trailed en route to a 65-49 victory over No. 3 Illinois State in Sunday's Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game before a Scottrade Center crowd of 8,056.

UNI later cut an eight-point deficit to three, and had a chance to draw even after Loyola missed the front end on back-to-back, one-and-one free throw opportunities. His 3-pointer after UNI's seventh first-half turnover gave Loyola a 25-21 lead at intermission, despite trailing throughout the majority of the opening 20 minutes.

Tywhon Pickford tipped in a missed 3-pointer by Lohaus with three seconds left, but UNI got no closer. "You look at how many grind-out games we've had, especially the last several weeks, and we just find ways to win". "We needed to make one or two more, and maybe they miss one more, and that's enough". Bennett Koch led Northern Iowa's team in scoring with 20 points, while shooting 8 of 14 (57.1%) from the field.

"They got 54 points". "That stretch hurt us, but, man, the guys, they still battled their tails off, and we still had all the important stuff with nine minutes to go". Donte Ingram and Marques Townes each had 13 points for the Ramblers, who won their eighth in a row. Those three, plus Ted Friedman, are the departing seniors for UNI.

"We had a great November/December, and that was fun", Jacobson said. "Once you put yourself behind the 8-ball that much, at 0-5, everything's got to go ideal to finish in the top four". In saying that, we weren't too far off it. They were going to do everything that they could within their power and with the influence they had on their teammates so that, no matter what our record was, we were going to play our best when it mattered most.

Outlook: With a veteran team (four of their top five players are upperclassmen) who shoots the lights out (40.1 percent outside the arc and 56.9 percent inside), Loyola has the profile of a team capable of winning a game - or two - should they get the right matchup and catch fire or at least shoot their average. Those guys were pretty special that way.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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