In a matchup of two evenly matched Missouri Valley Conference teams in need of a win, Loyola Chicago came back to defeat Missouri State, 77-71, Sunday afternoon in Chicago.
Missouri State looked like it was in the driver’s seat heading into halftime, going on a 7-0 run to take an 11-point lead. Loyola came back firing in the second half and came within three points multiple times. However, it was the flagrant foul committed by Missouri State forward Chris Kendrix with 4:25 changed the momentum.
Milton Doyle continues his consistent play
Milton Doyle is trying to make a case for Missouri Valley Conference player of the year. On Sunday, his stellar play led Loyola past Missouri State. He scored 18 points, including six on one possession that gave Loyola the lead and pushed the Ramblers to the win. On a night when Loyola’s other primary ball handler, Clayton Custer, played limited minutes, Doyle stepped up and made plays down the stretch. He also did this in the first half:
Missouri State’s outside shooting game is strong
Missouri State shot 40 percent from three, and the Ramblers had trouble defending its shooters all afternoon. Missouri State forced Loyola into a zone defense in order to try and defend the shots, but they were still falling.
Chris Kendrix was effective off the bench
Missouri State forward Chris Kendrix was reliable. Outside of the flagrant foul he committed in the second half, he was 5-7, 2-4 from beyond the arc, and 3-4 from the charity stripe. His production was crucial for Missouri State.
Loyola’s defense needs to improve
The Ramblers had a hard time defending, which allowed for Missouri State to go on runs in the first half. The defense in the second half was significantly better, which helped down the stretch. In the first half, Loyola struggled to get stops and defend Missouri State’s shooters off the three-point line.
Both teams are now 3-3 in conference play and will face each other again in Springfield on Jan. 31.