Loyola Escapes With a Victory In Overtime Thriller

The Final Score

Tonight the Ramblers finally snapped their four-game losing streak. But they didn’t do it unscathed. They barley made it out of the Jones Convocation Center in one piece.

Loyola had to make changes to it’s usual game plan from the beginning. They went with a three guard, two forward lineup instead of it’s usual four guard lineup with Ben Averkamp in the middle.

Loyola head coach Porter Moser did this to compete with Chicago State who had the size advantage. The Cougars also had a three guard, two forward lineup. But when you consider that third guard is the 6’7″ Quinton Pippen, with 6”7″ forward Jeremy Robinson, and 6’8″ forward Nick Ross, the Ramblers ┬áneeded to put more size on the court.

In the first half the Ramblers easily jumped out to a 13-2 lead. But turnovers, and other mistakes, got CSU back into it midway through the half. They also got Ben Averkamp into foul trouble early, he had three fouls by halftime. But the Ramblers hit some clutch shots towards the end of the half to increase their lead.

In the second half, Loyola came out of the gate on a path of destruction. They quickly got on a 9-6 run forcing CSU head coach Tracy Dildy to call a timeout. I guess the Cougars got his message loud and clear because when play resumed, the Cougars got on their own 9-7 run.

It would go back and forth until the middle part of the second half. Loyola would go on another big run, this one would be scored 12-9. From there it looked like Loyola had the game well in hand. Especially since Averkamp {who scored in double figures} managed to keep himself from fouling out of the game.

Loyola had a 56-49 lead with 3:22 left in the game. But the Ramblers would blow it with another round of bad mistakes. Turnovers, bad fouls, mishandling the ball, and even a time violation all worked in favor of CSU.

The Cougars scored off of every single one of Loyola’s mistakes. Chicago State would cut Loyola’s lead to 57-54 with just under a minute left. Both teams would squander every opportunity they had down the stretch. Loyola missed shots that would have put them ahead for good, while CSU kept missing shots that would tie the game.

Quinton Pippen would be the hero of the second half as he finally managed to hit a game-tying three point shot with 30 seconds left. Loyola had the chance to get the go-ahead basket but would turn the ball over after they failed to inbound the ball before getting hit with a five second violation.

Once CSU got the ball back, they turned to their star, Jeremy Robinson to win the game for them. He missed his first shot, got his own rebound, missed another shot, which was luckily rebounded by guard Nate Duhon.

Duhon put up a last-second shot to win the game but it went right off the iron as time expired. In the extra frame, the Ramblers got off to a hot start and never looked back. They managed to stop another last-minute rally attempt by Chicago State to walk out with the 66-63 victory.

Loyola ends a four-game losing streak, while stopping CSU’s two-game win streak after all was said and done. Loyola is now 4-1 against Chicago area teams.

Aside from Ben Averkamp, forward Christian Thomas also got in double figures with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Ramblers guard Jordan Hicks also pitched in 13 points of his own.

For the Cougars, their dynamic duo of Jeremy Robinson and Quinton Pippen combined for 30 points and 7 rebounds in the losing effort.

The Cougars (6-15, 1-1 Great West) will have a week to prepare for their upcoming conference game against Utah Valley on January 26th.

Loyola (11-7, 1-4 Horizon League) resumes conference play with a trip to Cleveland State on Wednesday night.

Here is the box score from tonight’s game:

In the aftermath of tonight’s insanity, I got an exclusive interview with Loyola’s Ben Averkamp:

CSU head coach Tracy Dildy also held a press conference:

I must say that tonight was one of the craziest games I’ve covered so far.


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