Men’s basketball falls in final minutes at Loyola

Men’s basketball falls in final minutes at Loyola

CHICAGO (WFIE) - A furious run in the final four minutes saw Loyola get past the University of Evansville men's basketball team by a final of 66-59 at Gentile Arena.
 
Leading the Purple Aces (10-5, 0-2 MVC) was Ryan Taylor, who notched 20 points.  He connected on 8 out of 16 attempts on the day.  In his first game back from injury after missing the previous four contests, Dru Smith notched 15 points and 4 steals.  Also notched double figures was Blake Simmons notched 12.
 
"Give Loyola credit, they did a lot of things very well," UE head coach Marty Simmons said.  "We ended the first half really well and challenged our team about how critical the first four minutes of the second half were, but we lost our 8-point lead.  Our execution was not what it needs to be.  They sped us up and we forced up some shots and were able to change their pulse several times in the second half." Box Score (PDF)Loyola (11-3, 1-1 MVC) was led by Marques Townes, who had 19.  Of those 19, 17 came in the second half.  Aundre Jackson completed the day with 18.
 
Taylor gave the Aces a 2-0 lead on the opening possession of the game, but over the next six minutes, UE hit just one of its next eight tries as the Ramblers took a 6-4 lead.  Dru Smith connected on a bucket to tie it back up.
 
On the ensuing Rambler possession, Ben Richardson hit a trey to put the lead right back into Loyola's hands.  Neither team was able to pull away by more than three points through most of the first half, but that all changed in the final four minutes.  Smith found his stroke from outside with 4:17 remaining to give the Aces a 19-16 lead and two minutes later, it was Blake Simmons having his way from outside, draining a triple of his own to make it a 22-16 game.
 
UE extended the lead to eight points on three occasions as the third bucket of the day by Smith finished the period with the Aces up 28-20.  Smith had a team-high nine points and four steals in the half.
 
Marques Townes helped Loyola get right back into the game in the opening minutes of the second half.  Townes drained a pair of triples as the Ramblers began the half on an 8-2 run to get within a pair at 30-28.  Evansville started the half 1-of-6 from the field with three turnovers.
 
With 12:25 left, Loyola was able to tie it up for the first time since the opening 20 minutes of play as Aundre Jackson connected on a field goal to tie it up at 35-35.  A jumper from Ryan Taylor, coupled with the second 3-pointer of the game from Simmons, saw UE go back up by five points at 42-37, but a 7-0 run gave LUC the lead once again.
 
A back-and-forth contest continued as the lead swapped hands twice leading to Loyola going up 51-47 with five minutes on the clock.  A clutch triple by Taylor, his first of the day from outside, saw the Aces cut the deficit to just one.  Just as they had for most of the second half, the Ramblers had the answer.  An and-one by Townes pushed the lead right back to four. 
 
One of the pivotal turning points came with under four minutes left.  Smith looked to have an opportunity for an and-one, but was called for the offensive foul.  Townes converted on the other end to give LUC its largest lead at 56-50.  Smith came up clutch with a three next time down the court to make it a single possession game once again.
 
Smith's efforts were not enough as the Ramblers were able to pull away for the 66-59 triumph.  The Ramblers shot an even 50% for the game, including 63.6% (14/22) in the final 20 minutes.  Evansville finished at 44.2% for the game while holding a 32-25 advantage on the glass.
 
Another road game is on tap for Evansville as it heads to Carbondale, Ill. to take on Southern Illinois in a 7 p.m. game on Wednesday.

Courtesy: University of Evansville Athletics