The Loyola Ramblers were hoping that they had another March miracle in them, but their dreams were dashed on Saturday afternoon as they lost 65-58 to the Oregon State Beavers in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16.
Cameron Krutwig had 14 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Ramblers in both categories. Braden Norris and Lucas Williamson each had 10 points in the losing effort.
The Ramblers jumped out to an early lead, but their offense faltered in this game, with Porter Moser's squad finding themselves eliminated from the tournament. Loyola shot just 33.3% from the field in the game, making five of the 23 three-pointers they attempted.
Oregon State's last Elite Eight appearance came in 1988 prior to this season, and they'll play for the regional title on Monday.
In a game between two defensively strong teams, many expected a low-scoring affair, and that’s certainly the way it looked early. Loyola held Oregon State without a field goal through the first six minutes of the game, with Cameron Krutwig making a pair of baskets during that stretch.
Unfortunately for Loyola, they couldn’t take advantage of Oregon State’s shooting woes early in the game, as they made just two field goals in the first 10 minutes of the game and led 9-6 at the halfway mark of the first half.
After a brief spurt that saw both teams exchange three-pointers, Oregon State completely dominated the latter stages of the half. A Krutwig jumper made it 16-13 with 5:48 to go, but that would be the last field goal the Ramblers would score in the half, going nearly six minutes without a single point as the Beavers finished off the first half on an 11-0 run.
In all, the Ramblers shot 4-of-23 in the first half, with Krutwig accounting for three of those made field goals. Loyola’s offensive output in the first half was by far their lowest of the season, and they trailed by eight at the break after not trailing at all since the three-minute mark against Georgia Tech in the tournament’s first round.
Ethan Thompson led all scorers with 10 points in the first half for the Beavers, while Gianni Hunt had three assists off the bench in the frame.
The Oregon State offense continued humming, building up a double-digit lead, but Loyola slowly but surely chipped into that advantage. Braden Norris picked up four quick points to cut the lead to eight, and after Marquise Kennedy hit a pair of free throws, Loyola trailed by seven points with 11 minutes remaining.
The Ramblers got even closer later on, cutting the lead to just three points with three and a half minutes to go, but Jarod Lucas quickly scored at the other end of the floor for the Beavers, making it 49-44 with 2:43 remaining in the contest.
After a pair of free throws by the Beavers, Kennedy drilled a three-pointer to cut the lead to four with two minutes to play. Oregon State responded with a basket of their own, but Kennedy flew through the lane and made a lay-up while taking a big hit, keeping the Beaver lead at four points.
That's as close as Loyola could get in the closing seconds, as Norris missed a three-pointer that could have made it a one-possession game with less than a minute to go.
Oregon State will now get ready to take on the winner of Saturday night's game between Houston and Syracuse in the Elite Eight.