Although no local teams made the NCAA Tournament, 2015 was the best year in a long time for Chicago college basketball.
The Catch and Shoot has chosen its top 10 moments of the year and will be rolling out one per day until New Year’s Eve, when the No. 1 moment will be revealed.
1. Loyola sweeps Louisiana-Monroe to win CBI title
Loyola’s best season in 30 years ended with its first postseason title in 52 years. The Ramblers earned a bid to the CBI with a 19-13 record. After defeating Rider, Oral Roberts and Seattle at home, Loyola reached the best-of-three CBI Championship Series, where it faced Louisiana-Monroe.
Like Loyola, Louisiana-Monroe was experiencing a major turnaround following a poor 2013-14 season.
The Ramblers and the Warhawks would play Game 2 and Game 3, if necessary, in Monroe. Game 3 was not necessary, though.
The Warhawks opened up an eight-point lead early in the second half of Game 2. Loyola did not fold, but it still trailed 58-54 with 4:51 to play.
Then shooting guard Devon Turk drained his fourth 3-pointer. After a defensive stop, Loyola guard Milton Doyle hit a pull-up jumper to give Loyola a 59-58 edge, its first lead since the opening minute of the second half.
Turk and Doyle led Loyola in scoring with 14 points and 13 points, respectively.
Louisiana-Monroe had a chance to recapture the lead with 2:06 remaining, but forward Jamaal Samuel missed a 3-pointer. Forward Tyler Ongwae missed a potential game-tying triple in the final minute.
Loyola left Monroe with a 63-62 win and a shiny trophy. Peterson, who scored 12 points in the clincher, earned MVP honors.
Loyola was already the only Chicago team to win a postseason title, and the CBI victory gave them an extra leg up in that contest. It also gave the Ramblers their 24th win, their highest total since the 1984-85 season.
2015’s Top 10 Moments of Chicago basketball: