CHICAGO- Hot off the heels of their upset of No. 5 Florida earlier this week, the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (10-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley Conference) continued their winning ways on Saturday (three straight wins now) with their sheer domination of Norfolk State (0-9, 0-0 Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference) by the score of 80-52, leaving them winless on the season.
The Ramblers were firing right out of the gate as they made seven of their first 10 shots and forced the Spartans to call an early timeout. LUC shot 75-percent from the field in the first half and had a 47-28 halftime lead. NSU struggled on both ends of the floor and at times looked like they were unable to keep up with Loyola’s speed. The Ramblers also had a size advantage and used it to their benefit.
“I think the biggest thing that I was happy about was….coming out and playing the right way,” said head coach Porter Moser at his post-game press conference. You can fall into trap games after (a big win like Florida), but that’s what I was most happy about.”
Loyola got double figure efforts from senior forward Donte Ingram (15 points), freshman center Cameron Krutwig (12), sophomore guard Bruno Skokna (18) and junior guard Adarius Avery (10). The Ramblers shot 71-percent from the field (a Division-I high so far this season), 76-percent from the three-point line, and made 20-of-29 free throws. If there was any concern about losing focus after the Florida game, those concerns quickly went out the door at the Gentile Center within the first few minutes of the game.
“We celebrated (the Florida victory) the night of, and a little bit the day after,” said Krutwig after the game. “Then we just kind of settled down, had a day off, and then we attacked (the Norfolk State game),” he added.
“It helps when everybody shoots like that,” added Moser, “we’re doing a really good job of being unselfish and making the extra pass.”
At 10-1 LUC is off to one of the best starts in program history. And perhaps they’ll get some consideration in the next AP Top-25 poll, but coach Moser has his team focusing only on one game at a time.
“I never thought that we thought a lot of ourselves, I think we stay focused all the time,” said Skokna.
Loyola will need that focus once conference play begins on December 22nd (at Missouri State). If Loyola is to make their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1985, they’ll have to navigate one of the toughest mid-major conferences in order to do so. The Ramblers will wrap up the non-conference portion of their schedule when they travel to Wisconsin-Milwaukee on December 16th.