Another thrilling, nail-biting victory pushed Loyola Chicago into the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1985.
Clayton Custer’s jumper with three seconds left punched the Ramblers’ ticket to the NCAA Tournament’s next round. Balanced scoring, fierce rebounding and great ball movement led the Ramblers to a 63-62 victory over Tennessee.
By shooting 52.4 % from the field — all stemming from unselfish passing on 17 assists — gave the Ramblers their 12th straight win.
Aundre Jackson came off Porter Moser’s bench to score 16 points, but Moser’s team saw seven players score at least six points; to wit, Custer was the only other player to reach double figures. His game-winning field goal pushed his total to 10 points.
Speaking of defense, Loyola Chicago held Tennessee 12 points under their season average of 74.2 points per game. The Volunteers’s second leading scorer Admiral Schofield (13.9 points per game) scored 11 points in the game’s opening four minutes, but didn’t score again until four minutes left in the game. Despite foul trouble, the junior finished with 14 points. Grant Williams, the Vols’ leading scorer (15.3 ppg) was held to 12 points, including an old-fashioned three-point-play with 20 seconds left to give Tennessee a 62-61 lead.
The No. 11 Loyola-Chicago (30-5) battled the bigger and third seeded Volunteers (26-9) on the boards, out-rebounding the Volunteers by a 27 to 24 margin. Marques Townes scored eight points and led the Ramblers with six rebounds. Center Cameron Krutwig led the way with four assists.
The Ramblers play their Sweet Sixteen game Thursday in Atlanta against the winner of UMBC and Kansas State.