Once again, offense was Loyola’s biggest obstacle.
Only this time, it resulted in a 33-30 loss to St. Rita on Friday in Chicago in the Catholic Blue opener, snapping the Ramblers’ four-game winning streak.
All but six of Loyola’s points came on 3-pointers. Late in the first quarter, senior guard Vahe Kalayjian scored a layup after getting an offensive rebound on the weakside.
The Ramblers finished 8-for-29 from 3-point range. Senior guard Kevin Cunningham and junior guard Connor Barrett each made four 3s and scored 14 points apiece.
“Our offense remains inefficient and ineffective,” Loyola head coach Tom Livatino said. “We are a 3-point shooting team, and we are shooting well below where we want to be. And we had no scoring at the basket.”
Yet, the Ramblers led 14-12 at the half and 21-19 heading into the fourth.
But the Mustangs (5-6, 1-0) took control by scoring the first 10 points of the fourth to take a 29-21 lead with 5 minutes, 21 seconds remaining in the quarter.
“We had a difficult time understanding how to guard a ball screen,” Livatino said. “That was a big breakdown.”
Cunningham and Barrett hit consecutive 3s to cut the deficit to two, 29-27, at the 3:34 mark. Another Barrett 3 with 1:45 to go got the Ramblers within one, 31-30, but they couldn’t complete the comeback.
Senior forward Pete Mangan had six rebounds, four steals, two assists and took one charge. Senior guard John Lynch finished with four rebounds.
Loyola shot 11-for-40 from the field and didn’t attempt one free throw. St. Rita went 6-for-8 from the line to get its first win in seven games.
“We hung in there, but I don’t know if we deserved to win,” Livatino said.