One-time Cinderella Loyola Chicago passed on its tiara to another NCAA Tournament surprise.
The No. 8-seeded Ramblers couldn’t find their shot and failed to produce another program-legitimizing victory, falling, 65-58, to No. 12 seed Oregon State in the Sweet 16 on Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Loyola struggled offensively from tipoff, and the Beavers eventually made enough field goals against the Ramblers’ stingy defense.
Outside of Cameron Krutwig’s 14 points on 6-of 12 shooting, the rest of the Ramblers were unable to consistently connect. The Ramblers had made only 6 of 20 shots 8 minutes into the second half.
They finished 18 of 54 from the field against Oregon State’s zone, including only 5 of 23 on 3-pointers.
Loyola had knocked off conference tournament champions from the ACC and Big Ten but couldn’t topple the surprising Pac-12 tournament champions.
A Keith Clemons 3-pointer cut Oregon State’s lead to 51-47. Marquise Kennedy pumped his fist from the court after falling on a layup and drawing a foul. He missed the free throw but closed Loyola’s gap to 51-49 with 1 minute, 32 seconds to play.
The Beavers kept draining shots — something they struggled with early — and a Jarod Lucas 3-pointer seemed to put them out of reach 56-49 in a game in which field goals were especially precious.
Oregon State held a 56-51 lead when a Tate Hall steal caused the ball to volley around until it wound up in Braden Norris’ hands, but his 3-point attempt rattled out, a missed opportunity that created a collective sigh among Loyola fans.
The game was possibly the last for seniors Krutwig and Williamson (10 points on 3-of-11 shooting). They shared a long embrace on the sideline as the game concluded.
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