Moments before senior Donte Ingram’s game-winning three-point basket, life had left the Loyola students and alumni who filled Bulldog Ale House on Sheridan Road near campus.
Only seconds were left in the game and the Ramblers trailed the Hurricanes by just one point. Blank faces stared up at the screens, and then he did it: Ingram got the ball from redshirt junior Marques Townes, and sent the ball through the net with ease.
As the last 0.3 seconds ticked off the clock, the Loyola faithful back on campus celebrated with their team, which was doing the same in Dallas.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Loyola freshman Erin Goedecke said. “It’s been 33 years, so having Loyola get this far in general and just keep on pushing is special. We’re a bracket-busting team.”
As Goedecke spoke, LUC chants filled the bar, and on the opposite side of the city the same chant was being shouted by a former Rambler himself.
John Egan, who was part of the 1963 NCAA championship team, watched at Stony Creek Golf Course in Oak Lawn as the Ramblers took down Miami, 64-62. Prior to Thursday afternoon’s matchup, Egan talked about the strength this Rambler team had. He said disciplined defense would help them win and advance.
As he watched Thursday’s game, all he could think was, “Give us one chance,” Egan said.
That chance came and Ingram delivered, helping to send his team to the next round, where they’ll face Tennessee for an opportunity to play in the Sweet Sixteen.
“It was absolutely fantastic,” Egan said. “Ingram makes them. That was a tough shot and he made it. They come back all the time. They win things at the end of the game like nobody else.”
Egan said he wanted to be in a quiet place for the game, somewhere he’d be the only one yelling. For round 2, he hopes to be in Dallas watching the Ramblers live.
As Egan soaked in the excitement of watching his beloved Ramblers survive and advance, things began to quiet down back at Bulldog Ale House. One thing is certain: The spark this Ramblers team ignited on the north side will not be put out any time soon.
“This is the beginning of something special,” Goedecke said. “We haven’t been recognized as a athletic school, and this team is changing that.”