Loyola Chicago’s offense produced plenty of points against lesser competition, but as the competition level increased, the Ramblers have seen their offense falter.
The Ramblers hope to produce enough offense and salvage their trip to the Battle 4 Atlantis on Friday when they face Arizona State in the seventh-place game at Paradise Islands, Bahamas.
Loyola (4-2) is averaging 79.7 points per game; in double-digit victories over Coppin State, Florida Gulf Coast, Chicago State and Illinois-Chicago, it scored 91 points per game.
Against Michigan State and Auburn, the Ramblers scored 61 and 53 points. Loyola shot 37.3 percent in a two-point loss to Michigan State on Wednesday and 30.8 percent in the second half of a 62-53 loss to No. 19 Auburn on Thursday.
“It’s tough in these tournament settings when you lose your first game, but I can’t help but be proud of our fight,” Loyola coach Drew Valentine said. “We have to change some things that we are doing offensively, but defensively I thought we were pretty solid today.”
Before returning home, Loyola is hoping to see leading scorer Ryan Schwieger get rolling again. He scored 22 points in each of his previous two games before Wednesday but has been held to nine points in this tournament.
Arizona State (2-4) is looking to snap a three-game skid that began with a two-point loss at San Diego State on Nov. 18. The Sun Devils opened the tournament with a 75-63 loss to No. 6 Baylor on Wednesday and then allowed Syracuse to shoot 54 percent Thursday in a 92-84 loss when it trailed by 18 at halftime.
“We didn’t have any toughness and grit on defense,” Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. “We made things way too easy for them. We played with no desperation at all. We competed better in the second half, but why can’t you do that in the first half? You can’t build up that kind of deficit and expect to win.”
Arizona State is hoping to rebound from its worst defensive showing but continue to hit 3-pointers effectively. The Sun Devils hit 15 against Syracuse after making 10 against Baylor as Marreon Jackson hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points while D.J Horne and Luther Muhammad hit four apiece.
–Field Level Media