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Ramblers Down Drake in Iowa

DES MOINES – Marques Townes scored a career-high 28 points and Clayton Custer added a career-best 26 points as Loyola University Chicago (9-6, 2-0 MVC) withstood a strong start from host Drake (11-4, 0-2 MVC) to rally for an 85-74 victory this afternoon at Knapp Center. The win gives the Ramblers their first-ever 2-0 start in Missouri Valley Conference play and this is the first time since 2003-04 they have begun conference play of any sort with consecutive victories.

 

Both teams got off to a good start shooting the basketball, combining to hit their first 10 field goal attempts, but Drake built a 19-11 lead through the first six minutes thanks to four three-point field goals, including two from Noah Thomas, who was starting his first game of the year

 

The Bulldogs’ lead would swell to 30-14 as they knocked down their first 10 field goal attempts, seven from beyond the arc.  Loyola would fight back, scoring 21 of the game’s next 26 points, tying the game at 35-35 on Marques Townes’ second three-pointer of the period.

 

After a jumper by Brady Ellingson put Drake back on top, Loyola claimed the lead for good in the period on a three from Custer. The 2018 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year followed with another triple as part of an 11-0 run, capped by a Cameron Krutwig dunk, that gave the Ramblers a 46-37 lead with 49 seconds remaining the in the half.

 

Loyola converted 69.2 percent (18-for-26) of its shots from the field in the opening 20 minutes, hitting 8-of-14 (.571) from beyond the arc, as they weathered Drake’s early onslaught.

 

Loyola’s was able to run its six-point halftime advantage to 11 (51-40) at the outset of the second half on a Townes triple and jumper from Custer that forced Drake to burn a timeout. That edge eventually got to 62-47 when Cooper Kaifes punctuated a 9-0 Ramblers run with a dunk.

 

Drake crept back into the game, chopping the Loyola lead down to single digits (68-59) on a baseline jumper from Nick McGlynn with a tick under nine minutes remaining. McGlynn would later knock down a jumper to get Drake within 70-62, but Loyola reeled off seven unanswered points, with Isaiah Bujdoso’s three-pointer from the left corner providing the dagger as the lead ballooned back to 77-62.

 

Townes, who was playing with a heavy heart following the passing of his grandmother yesterday, hit 11-of-17 shots from the field en route to a career-best 28 points, while also adding five boards and five assists.  Meanwhile, his backcourt mate, Custer, hit 9-of-12 from the field, including 6-of-8 from three-point territory to finish with 26 points. Krutwig added 13 for Loyola, which shot 63.3 percent (31-for-49) from the field and 50 percent (12-for-24) from beyond the arc for the game.  Drake was led by 21 points from McGlynn.

 

Up Next

The Ramblers conclude a brief two-game road trip January 8 when they travel to Evansville. That game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network at 7 p.m. CT.

 

 

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