Donte Ingram's second half scoring explosion sparked Loyola of Chicago (15-16) to a Missouri Valley Conference tournament opening round win over Bradley. The Chicago native scored 17 second-half points, and 19 overall as the Ramblers scored the 74 to 66 win.
With second leading scorer Milton Doyle on the bench with foul trouble, Ingram and senior Montel James took over the scoring load. James recorded his seventh double-double (20 points and 17 rebounds) of the season.
Bradley (5-27) won the rebounding battle 41 to 32, but turned the ball over 19 times. The youngest team in college basketball received double-figure scoring from three freshman and a sophomore. The sophomore Donte Thomas, scored 14 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, while freshmen Ronnie Suggs (15), Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye (14) and Antoine Pittman (12) were big contributors for the Braves.
Loyola Head Coach Porter Moser was glad his team survived and advanced. "I'm so glad we found a way to win," said Moser. "It wasn't pretty, but we found a way and Ben Richardson (six points, five assists and six steals) made some winning plays for us tonight."
Bradley first year head coach Brian Wardle believes better days are ahead for his baby birds.
"I loved our effort and our competitiveness," he said. "This group of young men, I have loved coaching these guys everyday, in spite of our record."
The game was tied at 41 with 12:36 to play, and there had been 18 lead changes at that point. The Ramblers scored eight consecutive points and never looked back.
Loyola advances to the quarterfinals of Arch Madness and a Friday date with top-seeded Wichita State.