After guiding Loyola to its second consecutive regular-season conference title, senior Marques Townes was named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year on Tuesday.
The news came three days after Townes scored a game-high 26 points in a win over Bradley in the regular-season finale.
Townes averaged a league-best 18.1 points with 4.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists in conference play. He beat out Drake forward Nick McGlynn and Loyola center Cameron Krutwig, who finished second and third, respectively, in the voting.
Four years ago, Townes didn’t know where Loyola was. In fact, when he first heard from coach Porter Moser, the 6-4 guard had to search “Loyola-Chicago” in the Safari app on his iPhone.
Once Townes saw the campus and met the team on his official visit, he knew he was destined to play with the Ramblers.
“[The program] was really family-oriented,” said Townes, who transferred from Fairleigh Dickinson in 2016. “Whenever I won at places, the team … had a really good bond off the court, and that bond off the court really translates to on-the-court results.”
That bond was evident during the NCAA Tournament last season, when Loyola pulled off four consecutive upsets in earning its first Final Four appearance since 1963. Townes hit a three-pointer with 6.3 seconds left to propel the Ramblers past Nevada in the Sweet 16.
This season, he has scored 20 or more points in seven games, including a career-high 32 against Drake on Feb. 5.
“I know what it takes to win, what needs to happen to win those games,” he said. “All my life, I’ve been winning, so I know what it takes to lead any team.”
With this season being his last, Townes has played every game with a chip on his shoulder. He doesn’t want to look back someday pondering “what-if” scenarios.
“[I’m] playing every game like it’s my last because I don’t want to regret not playing hard and falling behind and stuff like that,” he said.
Loyola earned the top seed in the MVC tournament and will face the winner of the No. 8 Indiana State-No. 9 Valparaiso game on Friday in St. Louis.