ST. LOUIS — Donte Ingram had 13 points and eight rebounds, Marques Townes had 13 points and the game-clinching free throw with 2.3 seconds remaining and top-seeded Loyola held off ninth-seeded Northern Iowa 54-50 on Friday in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament quarterfinals.
“I thought it was a classic Valley game, especially with Northern Iowa,” Loyola coach Porter Moser said. “It was gritty. It was tough. It was ugly at times. Just crazy how well they defend you. I was proud of our guys’ mentality. There was no panic.”
Ingram’s layup with 57.7 seconds to go had the Ramblers (26-5, 15-3 Missouri Valley), who have their most wins since the 1948-49 team went 26-9, up 51-43. A put-back by Klint Carlson with 48.1 seconds left and a three-pointer from the right wing by Wyatt Lohaus after Loyola missed the front end of a one-and-one made it 51-48 with 30 seconds left.
Loyola again missed a free throw, but UNI missed a three-pointer before freshman Lucas Williamson got his only points of the game with two free throws at 10.8 seconds. Tywhon Pickford scored on a put-back for Northern Iowa before Townes iced it.
Loyola’s Ben Richardson had a solid all-around game, totaling nine points, six assists, four steals, a block and a rebound.
Loyola, on a season-best eight-game winning streak, faces fifth-seeded Bradley in the semifinals Saturday.
Bennett Koch scored 20 points for Northern Iowa (16-16, 7-11).