Loyola newcomers shine in first Arch Madness experience

ST. LOUIS — One of the challenges for young teams playing at the MVC Tournament is the grandness of the event. Arch Madness is not quite the Big Ten or Big East tournaments, but there’s certainly nothing mid-major about it.

If Loyola was going to defeat Indiana State in Friday’s quarterfinal round, it was no secret the Ramblers would need significant contributions from their newcomers. The rookies answered the bell emphatically in an 81-53 Loyola win.

Photo: Loyola Athletics
Photo: Loyola Athletics

Freshman guard Ben Richardson might as well have had lightning coming off his fingertips. The 6-foot-3 Missouri native scored 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc in addition to 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Richardson was not intimidated by the moment. He knew what he signed up for as a Loyola player in the MVC.

“It’s legit,” Richardson said of Arch Madness. “I know last year, going through the recruiting process and after deciding to come here, I was looking forward to this tournament for sure.”

Two other newcomers, freshman Donte Ingram and junior Montel James, also were crucial to Loyola’s success.

Ingram, a 6-foot-6 wing, showed off his toughness by grabbing 6 rebounds in 19 minutes of playing time. He also finished with 12 points, including a pair of big 3-pointers.

James consistently burned Indiana State both by posting up and knocking down mid-range jumpers. The 6-foot-7 forward finished with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting along with 5 rebounds and 2 blocks.

Loyola is back in action Saturday with a semifinal matchup against No. 2 seed Northern Iowa, and the Ramblers will need these newcomers to step up once again if they want to reach Sunday’s championship game.

Author: Jesse Kramer

Jesse Kramer is the founder of The Catch and Shoot. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He has had work featured on SI.com, College Insider, The Comeback/Awful Announcing, and 247Sports.

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