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Atlanta, Ga- Senior Ben Richards had the game of his life scoring 23 points hitting 6-7 from three point range to keep the “Cinderella” parade going for the Loyola Chicago Ramblers. They advanced to the Final Four by defeating the Kansas State Wildcats 78-62.
The Wildcats trailed the entire game and was never was in the game.
Loyola started out hot going 5-7 and 3-3 from three-point land. Every starter scored taking a 15-5 lead early on. Loyola dictated the pace constantly moving confusing Kansas State.
The Wildcats went on a mini run sparked by forward Xavier Sneed with a couple of three pointers to bring them within five.
Cameron Krutwig was able to use his size down low to score at will. The freshman had seven early points in the first half. “Coach gave us the message he always give us. Play within yourself, play hard, play smart and give it all you got,” said Krutwig
The Ramblers ended the first half with a corner three pointer by senior Richardson to put them up 36-24 Richardson led the team at half with 11 points. Loyola shot 55.6% from the field going 4-9 from downtown.
Kansas State shot 36% from the field.
Richardson put them up by 15 after he completed a 4-point play getting knocked to the floor while hitting a deep three-pointer at the top of the key. Loyola kept the momentum going by starting the second half 7-8 from the field and 3-4 from three-point land going up as many as 21 points
The Wildcats started to get frustrated by the Ramblers defense being feisty. Kansas State missed 14 out of their first 20 shots.
A 10-0 run brought the Wildcats within 13 sparked by Barry Brown. They got as close as 12 but Marquez Towns put the game away with an acrobatic layup and the foul at the 2:33 mark.
“Our goal was to get to the tournament, we just take it one game at a time and this team has bought into that and we are here now,” said Towns.
Sneed led the Wildcats with 16 points.
Loyola will face the Michigan Wolverines in the Final Four.