Ramblers fall despite late push: 3 Observations

Ramblers fall despite late push: 3 Observations originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

In their last home game of the season, the Loyola Ramblers fell to the Rhode Island Rams by a score of 79-77. In what seemed like a long-shot, the Ramblers were able to climb a steep deficit to almost force overtime but came up short in the final seconds. The loss moves them to 9-20 (3-14 A10) as they have locked in the #15 seed at the upcoming A10 tournament. Here are three observations from the loss:

Comeback effort comes up JUST short

Give credit where credit is due. At 15:49 in the second half, the Rams led by 17 points, their largest lead of the night. The Ramblers and Rams exchanged runs throughout the half, with the Ramblers gradually bringing themselves back into it. Clutch three-pointers by Braden Norris and Sheldon Edwards eventually willed the Ramblers to a tie but a tough foul call on Philip Alston with just over two seconds left in the game allowed the Rams to edge out the win.

Loyola able to slow Rams’ stampede

Rhode Island came out firing in the first half, taking a 7-point lead at halftime. The Rams were guided by a 51.7 percent clip from the field, including going 4-8 from beyond the arc. However, despite a hot start to the second half, the Ramblers upped their defensive intensity and brought the Rams a lot closer. It was a staggering contrast, as the Rams mustered only a 38.7 field goal percentage in the second half.

Ramblers keep it clean

Despite being near the top of the nation in turnovers per game, the Ramblers kept their hands on the ball when it mattered the most. Head coach Drew Valentine has spoken about his goal for the team to keep the turnover count to under 10 per game and for the first time in a while, the Ramblers met that goal. The Ramblers only gave up the ball 7 times, their lowest total of the season. As a result, the Rams were able to score only 9 points off the turnover.

The Ramblers close out their regular season on Saturday, taking on LaSalle on the road with a 1 p.m. tip-off on ESPN+.