For the third straight time, Loyola turned an NCAA Tournament appearance into a Sweet 16 berth. This time, though, it could not make it two straight Final Fours, falling on Saturday to Oregon State in the Midwest Semifinal, 65-58.
Wayne Tinkle took it to his father’s former employer, allowing the Ramblers to only shoot 33% from the field on the afternoon. The Beavers led throughout, leading by as many as 13, and never allowing their lead to get down to one possession late.
Oregon State is now in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1982, while Cam Krutwig and Lucas Williamson’s Loyola careers ended much earlier than they imagined.
“You have dreams, and when they come to an end, it's tough,” head coach Porter Moser said postgame.
Here’s what allowed the Beavers to do what Illinois could not, and defeat Loyola:
A sloppy first half:
The first 20 minutes were a defensive slugfest. You would think this would benefit the Ramblers, but it resulted in their worst first half of the season, and Krutwig said postgame that it was a little bit too slow for their liking.
At the break, Loyola trailed Oregon State by a score of 24-16, shooting a dreadful 4-23 from the field. When you eliminate what Krutwig did, they shot an even worse 1-18. Two big runs of 11-0 and 7-0 really helped the Beavers pull away, and they didn’t look back from there.
Free throw shooting:
Coming into the game as the sixth-best defensive free throw rate team, things didn’t go exactly as planned for the Ramblers. They shot 17-24 (71%) from the charity and the Beavers went 18-20 (90%). Loyola had a couple attempts rim out that would have cut the lead to one possession late, and Oregon State took advantage to pull away.
Oregon State shut down everyone outside of Krutwig:
Loyola really struggled offensively, shooting 12-42 (28.57%) outside of Krutwig’s 14 points. The three-ball was not the Ramblers’ friend, either, but Oregon State wasn’t exactly excellent from deep.
Oregon State was able to limit everyone, including Loyola’s star, but the Ramblers were not able to do the same. Ethan Thompson scored 22 points and Warith Alatishe picked up another double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds).
Both Krutwig and Moser said postgame that they have not put much thought into their decisions for next year. If they return, the Ramblers could have another great season on their hands. If not, Moser has developed a winning culture that can last in Chicago.