CHICAGO — Loyola held on Friday to defeat Lewis, 75-65, in an exhibition matchup. The Ramblers open the season Friday against Texas-San Antonio, and here is what we learned about the team as they near the regular season.
—Loyola’s backcourt is as deep as we thought. The Ramblers received quality minutes from six guards Friday, including newcomer Tyson Smith.
Smith made his largest contributions in the first half with a nice drive to the bucket followed by a fastbreak layup for his only four points of the night. He’s a strong guard with good quickness for his size.
Junior star Milton Doyle took over in the second half, scoring 16 of his 21 points. He shot efficiently at 6-of-12 from the field and 8-of-10 from the foul line, but he also had four turnovers and only two assists.
Meanwhile, senior Devon Turk showed no offseason rust, draining 2-of-4 from deep en route to 17 points and three assists.
“His shot is such a weapon,” coach Porter Moser said.
The Ramblers also got good contributions from senior Earl Peterson, senior Jeff White and sophomore Ben Richardson.
—The Ramblers may still have to go small, at least for now. 6-foot-9 forward Maurice Kirby, a junior college transfer with three years of eligibility, gave Loyola 13 solid minutes, tallying two points, two rebounds and one block.
“We’re going to need Maurice and his body,” Moser said. “He got a couple of nice rebounds in traffic.”
Kirby has the potential to be a key player for Loyola, and that could happen as soon as later on this season. But right now, he is still a bit raw and learning the new system.
At least for the start of the season, expect Kirby to make some good contributions off the bench, but Moser will often use an undersized frontcourt of 6-foot-7 forward Montel James and 6-foot-6 hybrid Donte Ingram.
—Where’d the 3-point shooting go? This was only one game, so there’s no need for Loyola to panic. But the Ramblers struggled from deep, shooting 5-of-20.
The Ramblers ranked No. 18 in the nation in 3-point percentage last year, and that was a large part of what helped them overcome poor turnover and offensive rebounding numbers.
One game is not enough to make anyone worry, but it is something to keep an eye on as Loyola enters the regular season.
Four players who we know are capable 3-point shooters — Ingram, Richardson, White and Smith — shot a combined 0-of-10. That won’t happen most nights.