Loyola Ramblers almost pull second half miracle against DePaul Blue Demons, 69-58

Gentile Arena — A Rambler miracle was ever so close for Loyola (1-7) in it’s match against red line rival DePaul (5-3). The two haven’t met in Rogers Park since 1980, so Rambler fans made sure to show their support touting a near sell out showing of 4,186 for an extremely Rambler proud crowd.

Jim Cornelison commenced the festivities with his usual rocking rendition of our National Anthem which got the Rambler Rowdies rambunctious right away. While the crowd stuck with the Loyola first half struggles, the Ramblers fell apart completely.  The Ramblers had a defensive lapse as well for much of the first half, surrendering a crushing 47 points to the like of 17 on their offensive side.

Porter Moser expressed his distaste for the defensive performance. “Transition defense was horrific. Ball screen defense…we did not do our job and DePaul made us.”

“Man to man defense was a nightmare against them.” The unbalanced defensive showing proved to be the Rambler’s crux for the game. If not for the ghastly 47 points in the first half, this Red Line Rivalry was easily Loyola’s to take. In the second half a meager 22 points were committed by the Blue Demons which can also be largely attributed to the Gentile Arena crowd.

Oliver Purnell took delight in the newly renovated court. “Neat home court for [Loyola]…the noise came right down to the court.” The “Joe” is constructed in such a way that the seats feel directly above the court and the noise transitions rather loudly. Home games will be crucial for success this season because of he extra advantage the fans bring.

The horrendous first half proved to only be the motivation the team needed as they came out with a stunning second half performance. It was as if the Ramblers incurred some sort of locker room transformation. The Blue Demons were limited to only 22 points, far from their 47 in the first half and Loyola went on to cut the one time 30 point deficit to single digits. Some electrifying plays like Joe Crisman’s deep three sent the stadium on fire forcing Purnell to take a timeout.

Ben Averkamp had a quiet, yet stellar game for the Ramblers grabbing a game high 11 rebounds, one of which was a Crisman putback jam that took the crowd to a whole new stratosphere. Walt Gibler was no question the player of the game for Loyola displaying a career high 29 points.

Porter Moser agreed noting, “Walt had fire in his belly. Played with such passion and found angles ins econd half.”

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