The Ramblers fell to the Michigan State Spartans in the 2021 Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament opener in the Bahamas by a score of 63-61 Wednesday afternoon. The Spartans took the lead in the final seconds of the closest game for the Ramblers yet. Here are three observations from the loss.
Offensive struggles limit the Ramblers
Loyola was unable to carry their current offensive might into Wednesday’s game, as the team struggled to find good opportunities throughout the game. The Ramblers could not find their rhythm from three point range, as they were contained to a 35.0 percent clip. Eight blocks by Spartan senior Marcus Bingham Jr. limited the Ramblers to a season low 37.3 percent from the field. The Ramblers were led by 16 points from graduate student Lucas Williamson but it would not be enough for the win.
Experience pays off
The Ramblers got off to an uncharacteristically slow start to the game. The Ramblers struggled early on in the midst of a 9-0 scoring run by Michigan State. Loyola took full advantage of their experienced roster and kept their composure, eventually taking the lead with a three pointer from graduate student Keith Clemons. Additional three pointers by Clemons and Williamson gave the Ramblers some breathing room, giving them a five point lead at halftime.
Defense keeps game close
While the Ramblers struggled offensively, their defense kept them in the game all throughout. Forcing turnovers was a key component of their first half comeback, as graduate student Tate Hall led the charge with three steals in the first half, leading the team with four at the end of the game. The Ramblers constant pressure forced the Spartans to commit 20 turnovers, with 14 points coming as a result.
The Ramblers will take on either Auburn or UConn Thursday afternoon at 1:30 CT.