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Loyola defeats San Francisco in impromptu neutral-site matchup

Loyola and San Francisco agreed to play a neutral-site game earlier in the week when both teams had conference games scheduled for Thursday postponed because of COVID-19 issues with their opponents.

Loyola guard Lucas Williamson (1) drives as San Francisco guard Jamaree Bouyea (1) defends in the first half of Thursday’s game in Taylorsville, Utah.
Loyola guard Lucas Williamson (1) drives as San Francisco guard Jamaree Bouyea (1) defends in the first half of Thursday’s game in Taylorsville, Utah.
Rick Bowmer/AP

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — Ryan Schwieger scored 24 points on 9-of-10 shooting to lead Loyola past San Francisco 79-74 in an impromptu neutral-site matchup at Salt Lake Community College on Thursday.

Jacob Hutson added 13 points and Aher Uguak scored 10 for the Ramblers (10-2), who played for the first time since Dec. 10 after having six straight games canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 issues.

Yauhen Massalski scored 20 points and blocked four shots to lead the Dons (13-2). Khalil Shabazz added 15 points and Jamaree Bouyea had 13.

Loyola and San Francisco agreed to play a neutral-site contest earlier in the week when both teams had conference games scheduled for Thursday postponed because of COVID-19 issues with their opponents.

The impromptu game offered a resume-building opportunity for both teams as they pursue NCAA Tournament bids. The Ramblers entered Thursday at No. 19 in the NCAA NET rankings. The Dons were ranked 32nd — one of four West Coast Conference teams in the top 40.

The Ramblers never trailed in the second half after Tom Welch scored a go-ahead layup and then dished to Schwieger for a 3-pointer to put Loyola up 54-49. Loyola eventually increased its lead to 75-66 after Welch and Marquise Kennedy punctuated a 10-2 run with back-to-back layups.

San Francisco cut the deficit to three, pulling within 77-74 on a 3-pointer by Zane Meeks with 1:23 remaining. Bouyea had a crack at tying 3-pointer in the final seconds but missed.

Loyola led by as many as seven points during the first half. Lucas Williamson and Kennedy combined to make six free throws and Kennedy made a layup to fuel a 14-7 spurt that gave the Ramblers a 28-21 lead.

San Francisco answered with a 12-2 run to take a 33-30 lead late in the first half. Shabazz drove for a layup and Meeks buried a 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions to cap off the run and put the Dons in front before halftime.

THE BIG PICTURE

Loyola: The Ramblers showed some early rust after going 26 days between games. They struggled to find their shot in the first half but settled into a groove after halftime. Loyola made 16 baskets and shot 64% from the field in the second half.

San Francisco: Efficient shooting helped the Dons hang around until late. San Francisco made its first six field-goal attempts and shot 53% from the field in the first half. The Dons could not get enough stops to make it count.

UP NEXT

Loyola Chicago hosts Bradley on Saturday.

San Francisco hosts San Diego on Saturday.