ATLANTA — It would have taken a lot of doing to write a better script for Loyola senior guard Ben Richardson on Saturday.
He hit a three-pointer that gave the Ramblers their first double-digit lead over Kansas State in their 78-62 Elite Eight victory. He had a four-point play. He hit a corner three to close the scoring in a first half that rivaled the Ramblers’ second-half performance in their previous game, against Nevada, for overall brilliance.
Did we mention that Richardson — the Missouri Valley Conference’s defensive player of the year — scored a career-high 23 points and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the South Region?
“Ben Richardson stepped up and had his shining moment, his magic game, and that’s what you need,” Wildcats coach Bruce Weber said.
Something ferocious got into Richardson in the regional final. He celebrated nearly every one of his baskets in dramatic fashion — in most cases giving extended looks, mouth agape, to sections of Loyola fans.
“You know, that’s one of those moments that, like, I can’t even explain,” he said. “I kind of just black out.”
Loud and proud
Before the podium celebration, coach Porter Moser walked toward the section of fans where his family sat and shouted, “Look at this! Look at this!”
Then he climbed over a press table and disappeared into a sea of hugs. After returning to the court the same way he’d left it, he continued shouting to no one in particular:
“Are you kidding me? Thank you!”
This and that
Loyola’s Clayton Custer and Donte Ingram and Kansas State’s Xavier Sneed and Barry Brown Jr. joined Richardson on the South’s All-Tournament team.
• The Ramblers moved to 23-0 this season when leading at the half and shooting at least 50 percent for the game.
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