No. 8 seed Loyola is replicating its magical NCAA Tournament run from 2018, this time ousting No. 1 seed Illinois 71-58 for a trip to the Sweet 16.

Loyola controlled the game Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, relying on its trademark defense, ball sharing and big plays from its star seniors. Those elements should seem familiar to anyone who watched the Ramblers serve upset after upset during their Final Four run three seasons ago.

Illinois becomes the first No. 1 seed to go down in this year’s tournament.

Even as Illinois threatened to make a run, Loyola held strong. The Ramblers led by 14 in the first half and took a 13-point lead after Illinois had cut it to 39-33 in the second half.

Cameron Krutwig, Loyola’s versatile 6-foot-9 senior center, battled Illinois counterpart Kofi Cockburn, a 7-foot sophomore, in an entertaining matchup between two different types of big men. Krutwig’s athleticism and ability to shoot away from the basket gave Illinois fits, and he finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.

Cockburn didn’t score until about 11 minutes into the first half, but he was Illinois’ most reliable force, finishing with 21 points and nine rebounds.

Loyola senior guard Lucas Williamson’s tenacious defense and 14 points helped guide the Ramblers.

Illini star Ayo Dosunmu, a junior likely playing his last game in an Illinois uniform with plans to enter the NBA draft, had one of his quieter games with nine points on 4-of-10 shooting.

Loyola chaplain Sister Jean cheered from the stands in her wheelchair as the Ramblers delivered another tournament upset.

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