Salukis swept by Loyola Ramblers, 75-56


Brian Munoz

Junior guard Sean Lloyd Jr. keeps the ball from Loyola guard Ben Richardson Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, during the Loyola Rambler’s 75-68 victory against the Southern Illinois University Salukis at SIU Arena. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

By Ryan Demer, Sports Reporter

The SIU basketball team was defeated by the Loyola Ramblers (23-5, 13-3 MVC) Wednesday night at SIU Arena, 75-56.

Loyola is now the sole regular-season champions of the Missouri Valley Conference for the first time in school history.

“I’m just really proud of our guys,” Loyola head coach Porter Moser said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Barry [Hinson] and their staff. They’ve played so well in so many tight games.”


Although disappointed with the loss and no chance for a Valley championship, coach Barry Hinson expressed his utmost respect for Moser and the Loyola squad.

“They are well-mannered and well-representative,” Hinson said. “As a coach, you can certainly appreciate when you see good teams and especially teams that represent you and your league.”

With SIU using a different starting lineup on Senior Night, Loyola got on a roll immediately with a 12-2 scoring run.

The Salukis continued to fight to stay in the game and went on a 9-0 scoring run after two 3-pointers by junior guard Marcus Bartley.

Despite the run, the Ramblers continued to lead by double digits throughout most of the first half.

However, after a layup by sophomore guard Aaron Cook, the score was left at 44-36 going into the locker room.

Loyola began the second half on a 10-3 scoring run and pushed its lead back to double digits.


Throughout the rest of the game, Southern struggled to fight its way back into the game as the Ramblers featured multiple threats on offense.

Loyola had three players finish in double figures, while another three added nine points.

With a minute and 30 seconds left in the game and not much left for the crowd to cheer for, senior forward John Gardner checked into the game for the first time in his career.

He drove and attacked the Loyola defense and got fouled but missed both shots from the free-throw line.

A bright spot for the Salukis offense came in the form of junior center Kavion Pippen who scored a team-high 16 points with eight rebounds.

“They’re a tough team and great offensively and defensively,” Pippen said. “We executed pretty well but they just pressured us a lot and we got flustered a little bit.”

Junior guard Armon Fletcher added another 14 points and four rebounds.

“We tried to get a good shot and it kind of froze us and took us out the game,” Fletcher said. “That’s what this team is; everyone is really good at multiple things on the floor. We just have to hoop.”

If the status quo remains, there is still a chance that the Salukis and Crusaders will meet for a third matchup at Arch Madness in St. Louis next weekend.

The Salukis (19-11, 11-6 MVC) close out the regular season this Saturday afternoon against the Evansville Purple Aces in Evansville, Indiana. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Sports writer Ryan Demer can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @RyanDemer_DE 

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