Eighth-seeded Loyola-Chicago took a large step toward its second Final Four in four years with a 71-58 victory over top-seeded Illinois in a second-round game on Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis.
Not only did the Ramblers knock out their in-state rival, they did not let the nation’s No. 2 team hold a lead as the country’s best scoring defense stifled the Illini from start to finish. Illinois did not get closer than five points in the final 33 minutes as Loyola swiped the ball 12 times and forced 17 turnovers for the game.
Illinois (24-7), which entered the day with 15 wins in its last 16 games, shot just 44.9 percent from the floor and scored a season-low in points. The Illini failed to earn their first Sweet 16 berth since 2005.
Second-team All-American center Kofi Cockburn posted 21 points and nine rebounds, Adam Miller scored 10 points and Andre Curbelo contributed nine points and seven assists, but first-team All-American guard Ayo Dosunmu was limited to nine points on 4-of-10 shooting while committing six turnovers. Loyola snapped his streak of 42 consecutive games in double figures.
Third-team All-American senior center Cameron Krutwig paced Loyola (26-4) with 19 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and three steals. Lucas Williamson, the other holdover from Loyola’s 2018 Final Four team, added 14 points and two blocks while Marquise Kennedy contributed 14 points off the bench.