BASSANO DEL GRAPPA, Italy -- Pallacanestro Bassano del Grappa closed the game on a 20-6 run to erase a five-point deficit and earn a 74-65 victory over Loyola University Chicago this evening. The loss is the Ramblers' first on their four-game tour and comes on the heels of a 92-56 win against All-Star Italy.
"We were still sped up executing which forced us into 21 turnovers and with young guys, the problem was they were trying too hard," Loyola head coach Porter Moser said. "Tonight, I thought Kody Williams gave us great energy at both ends of the floor. We had a great 15-minute run in the second half, but part of the learning process is understanding how to finish off games and we will have plenty of teachable moments when we break down the last five minutes of this game. The atmosphere in the arena tonight was incredible and was a great experience for us. Part of being a good defensive team is the ability to play possession by possession. It's good to be making these mistakes in August rather than November."
Loyola opened the contest by switching up the starting lineup from Tuesday's opener, this time sending Cully Payne, Kody Williams, Jordan Hicks, Matt O’Leary and Ben Averkamp onto the floor.
Bassano del Grappa used a 19-9 run in the first quarter to turn a tie game into a 24-14 lead, its largest of the first half. Undeterred, Loyola stormed right back. A bucket by Devon Turk, the final points of the opening quarter, opened up a 12-1 Rambler run that culminated in a pair of free throws by Jeremy King, as Loyola seized a 26-25 advantage early in the second quarter for its first lead since Averkamp connected on a free throw to give the Maroon and Gold a 1-0 lead.
That lead would be short-lived though as an ensuing three by Bassano del Grappa began a half-closing 17-7 surge that sent Loyola into the locker room trailing 42-33. After connecting on 12 three-point field goals in its opening game Tuesday night, Loyola was successful from long distance on just one of its nine tries in the first half tonight.
Trailing 52-44 in the third quarter, Turk drained his first triple of the evening to give the Ramblers some much-needed momentum. A Bassano del Grappa free throw stretched its lead to 53-47, but back-to-back baskets from Joe Crisman and Williams and a three from O'Leary put the Ramblers back on top by a point. Five straight points by Payne, punctuated by a three-pointer from the top of the key, punctuated Loyola's 15-2 spurt and gave it a 59-54 lead minutes into the fourth quarter.
From there though, the Ramblers would struggle at the offensive end of the floor hitting just three more field goals as Bassano del Grappa finished out the contest by scoring 20 of the game's final 26 points.
Averkamp was named Loyola's most valuable player of the game after totaling team highs of 14 points and nine rebounds. Joining him in double-figure scoring was O'Leary (11) and Crisman (10). Payne tallied eight points and six assists and Williams and Turk added seven points apiece.
Tonight began a tough stretch of games in which Loyola will play three games in five days to close out the trip to Italy. Up next for the Ramblers is Zepa Marostica Monday night (Aug. 20), in Dueville.
(Recap courtesy LoyolaRamblers.com)
Tags: Loyola - Men's Basketball