The No. 11 Ramblers (15-2) let a nine-point lead in the third quarter get away from them, but their defense made it difficult on the Shamrocks (11-5) in the final seconds of Tuesday’s game in Chicago. Up 50-47 with less than 15 seconds to play, Loyola senior guard Kevin Kucera forced St. Patrick junior guard Nicholas Coleman into an bad shot beyond the arc. The Shamrocks had several other chances to tie the game, but they finally threw the ball away with 1.9 seconds to go.
Kucera found senior guard Jack Morrissey on the baseline for a layup and a 50-47 lead with 1:10 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Ramblers could have put the game to rest, but they missed the front end of two one-and-ones with 37 seconds left on the clock.
The 6-1 Kucera scored only eight points, but the point guard delivered the assist to Morrissey and the played textbook defense on Coleman in the closing seconds.
BY THE NUMBERS
Loyola senior guard James Clarke finished with a team-best 13 points. Morrissey made three three-pointers to score 11. Loyola now is 14-0 against teams from Illinois. St. Patrick junior forward Adrian Pierzchanowski connected on four threes and led all scorers with 18. Junior forward Isaac Moore also knocked down four threes for the Shamrocks, who ended up with 10 for the game.
“This kind of game only helps us. This is the kind of environment you will see in the playoffs. Games like this will toughen us up.” — said Kucera, whose team beat 23rd-ranked St. Rita on the road one week ago.