Ramblers close non-conference play with loss to Stanford: 3 Observations

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In what came down to a gritty ending, the Loyola Ramblers eventually dropped their contest with Stanford by a score of 75-62. The Ramblers put forward a late surge but ultimately could not close the gap, now falling to 6-6 on the year. Here are three observations from the game:

One step forward, two steps back

After a sluggish start to the season, the Ramblers had improved offensively, taking big victories over Clemson and Albany. Yet tonight the team took a step back, looking reminiscent of their play during the Myrtle Beach Invitational, where they were consistently outplayed. While Stanford pulled ahead early, the Ramblers struggled to keep up, only mustering a 33.3 percent field goal clip in the first half. While they improved that mark in the second half, it was not enough to secure the win.

Too little, too late

Despite the rough start, the Ramblers were able to at least make the game interesting in its late stages. Loyola put up an outstanding effort in the second half, mostly outplaying Stanford up until the end, cutting the deficit to as little as 8 points. After slow starts, the senior pairing of Braden Norris and Marquise Kennedy came alive in the second half, putting up 15 and 12 points, respectively, in the second half. 

The two finished with 18 and 14 points, with Kennedy putting forward a lightning hot 4-7 effort from three to try and trim the lead down while Norris recorded his 1,000th career point in the game. 

Illness leaves Ramblers shorthanded

The Ramblers were immediately limited in their rotation choices, with three of their players not being available. The team announced before the game that freshmen Jayden Dawson and Jalen Quinn, as well as junior Jacob Hutson, did not make the trip due to illness. As a result, the team had to rely heavily on their starters, with all but one playing at or over thirty minutes. Loyola felt the impact of the freshmen’s absences, only mustering 3 points from their bench.

The Ramblers return to Gentile Arena to kick off their conference schedule against George Washington on New Year’s Eve, with tipoff set for 3 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. 

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