By: Sammy Stava
It was a battle between the two newest members of the league as Loyola-Chicago and Valparaiso tipped-off Arch Madness Quarterfinal Friday at the Enterprise Center. Though, it was Loyola who looked like the more experienced team in the conference.
After their Final Four run a season ago, the Ramblers looked just as impressive as they got started on another postseason run under head coach Porter Moser and senior leaders Clayton Custer and Marques Townes. The No. 1 seed played like the No. 1 seed in a convincing fashion, beating the Crusaders, 67-54.
“I didn’t know that stat, but these guys have bought into this setting, you’ve really got to defend, – head coach Porter Moser said after the win. That stat was an MVC Tournament record, as Loyola became the first team in Arch Madness history to hold four straight opponents to under 55 points.
After winning the Larry Bird Player of the Year, Marques Townes went out and proved that by scoring 15 points, with eight rebounds and four assists. He was greeted by the Loyola student section with MVP chants during the game. “I wasn’t really paying attention to that. I was so locked in. I got the award, I think, yesterday. It was cool,” – Townes said about his performance.
Sophomore Cameron Krutwig led the Ramblers with 18 points. “I’m not really worried about the points or anything like that. We got the win. That’s all that really matters. Just got to get myself going, other than that, it wasn’t anything different than I did,” – Krutwig said.
This Loyola team has the attitude as a No. 1 seed. How important was it for them to get it? “That meant a lot to us to get that Number 1 seed and to win the regular season championship. Hopefully, we’ll be playing again on Sunday,” Marques Townes said.
The Ramblers are one more win from playing on Championship Sunday as they have advanced to the MVC Semifinals on Saturday against No. 5 Bradley at 2:30 p.m. CT. It will be a re-match of last year’s semifinal.