Saturday, February 1, 2020

Green's five takeaways from Loyola's 62-51 win over Bradley

Photo Credit: Geno Green

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

A raucous Gentile Arena crowd on Super Bowl Saturday night played a vital part as the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (15-8, 7-3 MVC) stayed within a game of Northern Iowa for first place in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 62-51 win over the Bradley Braves (15-8, 6-4 MVC). Here are my five takeaways for CSO from Chicago.

1) Loyola’s student section brought the smoke:

One of the unique aspects about the intimacy of a basketball arena is the insulated noise and drowning down on the court as the Loyola student section played their role of sixth man to a tee.

Things peaked around the 15-minute mark in the second half when Bradley could not muster anything on offense and after a foul call, Porter Moser pointed directly at the student section first before praising his players for the hustle.

“I saw the students two hours before the game in the student union and that’s what you want in a college atmosphere,” Moser said. “Most of the games are sold out and you want to create that atmosphere, especially with this league being elite at home.”

2) Kennedy getting the job in a different way:

Fresh off a game-high 18 points off the bench in Wednesday’s 68-63 loss to Southern Illinois, Loyola’s Marquise Kennedy played more like an extra with four points.

While the production on offense wasn’t there, the effort made up for it as Kennedy made an impact play on a save behind the basket and found Tate Hall for the layup to put Loyola up 16-9 at the 12:56 mark in the first half.

Cameron Krutwig recognized the moment and how it helped build confidence for Loyola for the remainder of the game.

“It’s little stuff like that helps give you confidence. When you are on offense, you are confident that you are doing your job and you start to hit shots and make plays. It was a tangible play by [Marquise] to help build momentum,” Krutwig said.

3) The one-two punch of Hall and Krutwig:

After a six-point outing at Southern Illinois, Tate Hall responded with 11 of his 14 points in the first half, highlighted by 3 three-point makes, while leading scorer Cameron Krutwig finished with a game-high 19 points, on 7-of-12 shooting.

The offense ran through the duo as Bradley could not come up with an answer on defense throughout the game as they accounted for 53.2 percent of Loyola’s points.

4) Revenge best served cold:

The Braves ended the Ramblers’ NCAA tournament hopes last season with a 53-51 win in the MVC tournament semifinal round. Loyola watched from afar on selection Sunday as Bradley secured the automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.

Outside of an early Bradley lead, Loyola controlled the tempo for the majority of the evening as it held leading scorer Darrell Brown Jr. to eight points, on three-of-nine shooting and fouled out with 2:36 left in regulation. Braves coach Brian Wardle did not like the energy brought to the court and hopes for improvement going forward.

“They outcompeted us in the second half and we didn’t play well. Guys got frustrated and started playing one-on-one and could net get into the flow,” Wardle said.

5) Holding serve:

Bradley posed one of the more efficient offenses in the MVC with 72.5 points per game (third) and Loyola managed to keep them at bay by holding them scoreless over a 6:15 stretch, which built to a 39-30 lead, spanning both halves.

Loyola’s stifling defense held Bradley to a season-low 51 points for the second time in 2019-20, which could be one of the better showings in MVC play when all is set and done.