Loyola continues improbable run; advances to the Final Four

Atlanta, G.A. ~ The Loyola Ramblers have shocked the nation and have advanced to the Final Four for the first time since 1963 by beating Kansas State 78-62 at Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. This year’s crazy tournament just took its craziest step yet, as Sister Jean and the Ramblers are moving on.

As an 11-seed, Loyola joins the 1986 LSU team, 2006 George Mason team, and the 2011 VCU teams as the lowest seeded team to win the region.

Senior Ben Richardson led Loyola with 23 points, and they blew out the Wildcats, which finished a remarkable and memorable run through the Southern Region.

Loyola ended up cutting down the nets in the first region ever to have its top-four seeds all eliminated before the Sweet 16.

The Ramblers beat Miami on a buzzer beater, Tennessee on a shot with 6.3 seconds left, and Nevada by one single point, but this one wasn’t close at all.

Sister Jean Delores-Schmidt,a 98 year-old woman, led the team in prayer before the game – just like she does in every game. After the Ramblers defeated Kansas State, she was wheeled onto the court from her wheelchair to join the confetti-filled celebration. Jerry Harkness and the other members of the 1963 National Champions, were also there to witness as an alum.

This was Loyola’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1985, and they clinched a spot in the field by winning the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. They came in as an underdog, and have been one this whole tournament, but they did not expect to be happy with just an appearance. It wasn’t easy however, as they won their three games by a combined four points.

Tonight, it was a whole different story. The Ramblers came ready to play and never looked back on the quick lead they built up in the first ten minutes of competition. With their great ball movement, Loyola was up 36-24 at halftime.

Loyola showed no signs of losing their lead in the second half. Richardson was fouled after sinking a three-pointer. After the foul, he lay flat on his back, a huge smile on his face. He knocked down the free throw, and the Ramblers had a 44-29 lead.

Loyola surrendered a run to Kansas State, but was able to go on one of their own and move on to the Final Four.

By Jacob Szczap

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *