By Amelia Ickes
Loyola University Chicago lost in an upset to Bradley University at the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in Saint Louis Saturday.
It was a shock for the Ramblers, who finished first in the conference during a regular season that followed their historic run to the Final Four last year.
Bradley, who went on to win the conference tournament, entered the game as a fifth seed. Loyola, the top seed easily beat Valparaiso Friday.
Bradley’s strong defense proved to be a challeng for the Rambler’s offense, which struggled. The Braves were able to block down numerous scoring attempts from Loyola’s star players, particularly sophomore Cameron Krutwig and senior Marques Townes.
Earlier in the week, Townes was awarded the MVC Larry Bird player of the year. It’s the highest award in the conference, and was given based on his exceptional performance in a season season in which he led the MVC with a scoring average of 18.1 points a game. However, Townes managed only
seven points against Bradley. Krutwig was the second runner-up for this award but also failed to score as expected against the Braves, potting six points.
In the post-game press conference, head coach Porter Moser acknowledged the team’s disappointment on this loss, saying, “I’m not going to ask them not to hurt. They’ve invested too much to do that.”
Meanwhile, last year’s conference Player of the Year and senior Clayton Custer spoke of his appreciation for the Rambler fan base who made the trip down to Saint Louis to show support for the team.
“I appreciate all of our fans coming out. Obviously we did not do what we came out to do… that hurts a lot.”
Loyola will now wait to see where they will play in the 2019 National Invitational Tournament next week.