No. 22 Loyola races past Drake in first game back in poll
After replacing Drake in this week’s Top 25, the Ramblers rolled to an 81-54 victory against the conference rival Bulldogs, improving to an MVC-best 13-1.
DES MOINES, Iowa — A second-half onslaught propelled No. 22 Loyola Chicago to an 81-54 rout of Missouri Valley Conference rival Drake on Saturday.
Aher Uguak was a catalyst for the Ramblers (18-3, 13-1) scoring eight points in a two-minute span and finishing with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting.
“When he’s making baskets, when he finishes, his confidence is through the roof,” Loyola coach Porter Moser said of Uguak. “He had an unbelievable performance for us.”
The Ramblers shot 70.4% (19 of 27) in the final 20 minutes while extended their winning streak to 11 and gaining sole possession of first place in the Missouri Valley standings.
Drake (19-2, 10-2) was led by Darnell Brodie’s 12 points.
The Bulldogs shot just 30.4% in the second half (7 of 23) after hitting 48.3 % in the first half.
“We have a thing called tough twos,” Moser said of Loyola’s defensive approach. “You’re not going to hold a team scoreless, but are they making tough twos?”
The Ramblers erased Drake’s three-point halftime lead and seized control with an 18-2 run to start the second half. Uguak’s layup put Loyola ahead 51-38. Tate Hall followed with a 3-pointer that helped the Ramblers maintain a 56-42 advantage.
Braden Norris added 11 points for Loyola. Cameron Krutwig contributed 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Garrett Sturtz had 10 points for Drake.
“Obviously, a disappointing loss today,” Drake coach Darian DeVries said. “I thought we played really good in the first half, and unfortunately the second half got away from us quickly.”
Drake was playing without its leading scorer, ShanQuan Hemphill, who was averaging 14.1 points and 6.3 rebounds before undergoing surgery for a broken foot sustained last week.
The Bulldogs jumped to an early lead Saturday, thanks in part to a pressing defense that pestered Loyola. A 3-pointer from Joseph Yesufu put Drake ahead 27-22 with six minutes left in the first half. The Ramblers responded with an 8-2 run and briefly tied the score at 30. The Bulldogs led 34-31 at the break.
Drake missed all seven of its 3-point attempts after halftime. Loyola benefited from 27 points off the bench and held an 11-2 edge in fast-break points.
Loyola replaced Drake in this week’s top 25, marking the Ramblers’ first appearance in the rankings this season and highlighting their best season since reaching the Final Four in 2018.
Loyola and Drake complete a two-game weekend series Sunday afternoon in Des Moines.