The Chicago Elite Classic hasn’t been kind to the Loyola boys basketball team.
After losing on a last-second shot to Maine South a year ago, the Ramblers suffered another close defeat to a rival this season at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.
Similar to its 56-54 overtime loss to New Trier on Nov. 23, Loyola had opportunities to win Friday. But the Ramblers couldn’t capitalize on their chances, and the result was a 44-42 overtime loss to Notre Dame. It was Loyola’s third consecutive defeat.
“We battled hard, but we had too many turnovers and too many missed layups,” Loyola head coach Tom Livatino said. “We are growing. I guess we are not ready to win a rivalry game in overtime.”
In his first game of the season, senior guard Jack Martinus’ layup lifted Loyola (2-3) to a 42-41 lead with 58 seconds remaining in overtime. But Notre Dame answered right away with a basket and made one free throw with 6.7 seconds to go to provide the final margin.
Loyola senior guard Ramar Evans took the loss especially hard, noting his junior season ended with a 52-50 loss to the Dons at the Class 4A Glenbrook North Regional final.
“It hurts,” he said. “This hurts just as much as that one.”
Despite a distinct height disadvantage — Loyola’s tallest player measures 6-foot-6 — the Ramblers hung with Notre Dame (5-0) for all 36 minutes. They led 28-24 after three quarters and 31-29 with 5:18 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Dons — who used players who stood 6-9, 6-8, 6-6 — never led by more than six points. Even though they led 37-33 with 1:48 to go, Loyola senior forward Julian DeGuzman and Evans combined to make four free throws to send the game into overtime at 37-all.
Evans finished with a team-best 12 points. He also had four rebounds and three steals. Senior guard Matt Lynch added 10 points, eight rebounds and two steals. DeGuzman finished with eight points. Martinus, who missed the first four games because of football, played 21 minutes, including much of the fourth quarter and overtime.
Although the outcome wasn’t in his team’s favor, Livatino said playing at a high-profile event like the Chicago Elite Classic on a college court will only help his team’s development.
“Great event, for sure,” he said. “What’s important is that we are moving in the right direction. We are better than we were last week.”
Loyola plays Providence-St. Mel at home on Tuesday before visiting DePaul Prep on Friday.