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Arch Madness: MVC-champ Loyola holds off Northern Iowa 54-50 in quarterfinals

Loyola's Lucas Williamson (1) drives right past Northern Iowa's Hunter Rhodes during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, Friday, March 2, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

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).