Subash Kharel | @pics.leaks
Coming back from a 14-point deficit late in the second half, The Saluki men’s basketball team (11-12, 5-12 MVC) lost by eight points on Feb. 26 to the Loyola Ramblers (20-4, 15-2 MVC).
“I give credit to Loyola, they made more plays than us. They actually made baskets and made more stops. I thought our guys competed for the whole 40 minutes,” head coach Bryan Mullins said.
Sophomore guard Steven Verplancken led scoring for the Salukis with 17 points and sophomore guard Marquise Kennedy led scoring for the Ramblers with 19 points.
“I think we battled today, we made a lot of mistakes, but we still battled to stay in the game,” Verplancken said.
Loyola started the first half with a dunk by redshirt senior forward Aher Uguak. This was followed by a three-pointer by sophomore guard Lance Jones and a basket from senior forward Anthony D’Avanzo.
Three more three-pointers by Jones gave the Salukis the lead 14-5.
The Ramblers fought to decrease Southern’s lead with three layups from Kennedy making the score 14-11.
Loyola took the lead, 15-14, after two free throws from Kennedy and a layup from senior center Cameron Krutwig.
The Ramblers gained a three-point lead, 17-14, after a fast break layup from senior guard Keith Clemons.
SIU decreased the gap back to one point with a layup from Jones.
Loyola increased their lead to six points with under five minutes left in the first half after a three-pointer from Clemons and a layup from senior guard Lucas Williamson.
The Salukis continued fighting to regain the lead late in the first half with scoring from freshman guard Dalton Banks and freshman center Kyler Filewich, but Loyola kept the lead at halftime 29-20.
Kennedy led scoring for the Ramblers with 10 points and Jones led scoring for the Salukis with 14 points.
The Ramblers continued increasing their lead in the second half with two three-pointers from redshirt sophomore guard Braden Norris, making the score 35-22.
The defensive efforts from both sides kept the teams scoreless for several minutes in the beginning of half.
Two free throws by redshirt senior guard Tate Hall ended the scoreless period and brought Loyola’s lead to 14 points.
Two three-pointers from Verplancken brought Loyola’s lead down to nine points, making the score 43-34.
The Salukis decreased the lead further with a layup from D’Avanzo, bringing the score to 43-36.
A layup from Filewich and a three-pointer from Verplancken brought the Rambler’s lead down to four points.
“I don’t think there was a shot that I didn’t want [Filewich] to take or wouldn’t want him to take tomorrow. He missed a couple of dunks [and] he made a couple of shots. He took his time and was patient in the post,” Mullins said.
Despite the Salukis offensive efforts, the victory was sealed for Loyola after scoring from Kennedy, Norris and freshman center Jacob Hutson, winning 60-52.
“We have to come back and play better tomorrow. We have to take care of the ball better and we have to execute better,” Mullins said.
The Salukis will take on Loyola again on Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. at the Gentile Arena.
Staff reporter Janae Mosby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @mosbyj.
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