Ramblers silence SLU: 3 Observations

Ramblers silence SLU: 3 Observations originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

After a disappointing first season in the Atlantic 10 conference, the Loyola Ramblers flipped the switch with a statement win in their conference opener on Wednesday night against the Saint Louis Billikens by a score of 80-73. It wasn’t an easy win, but the Ramblers now sit on a three-game winning streak as they look to push deeper into conference play. Here are three observations from the win:

A rollercoaster of emotions

If your New Year’s resolution was to avoid stress-inducing activities, this game wasn’t for you. The Ramblers opened the game on a tear, extending their lead to 18 points at one point in the first half. The lead was cut down to five at halftime, and the Billikens would go on to tie the game later in the second half.

Despite the up-and-down action, the Ramblers never trailed at any point in the game. While not traditionally known as a second-half team, Loyola was able to maintain their focus and eventually took the win.

Des to the rescue

With many of the Ramblers sitting in foul trouble, they relied heavily on junior guard Des Watson to provide some magic. Watson put the team on his back, rallying for a 24-point night, tying his career-high that he set earlier in the season against Eastern Illinois.

The guard led all scorers with five three-pointers made on seven attempts, while also collecting six rebounds and a career-high four steals.

Free throws are free…

The Ramblers did well to extend the lead throughout the game, but the amount of fouls called on them certainly would have made it easy for the Billikens to stay in the game. Loyola was called for 22 personal fouls, putting SLU in the bonus for much of the game.

Yet SLU failed to capitalize on the opportunity, going 8-19 from the charity stripe, including a brutal 4-12 effort in the second half.

The Ramblers now return home on Saturday, taking on Duquesne with a 3 p.m. tipoff on CBS Sports Network.

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