While UMBC captured the nation’s attention for beating the top-ranked University of Virginia, there’s another fairy tale that’s not yet finished. The 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago punched a ticket to the Final Four in an old-school beatdown of Kansas State on Saturday night. Their dominance was more apparent than the 78-62 final score.
The Wildcats were defanged early in the ballgame and they never got their mojo back.
The March Madness is where players really stamp their mark and Ben Richardson, known for his lock-down defense, suddenly found that he could score. In the first three games, he scored just 14 points total.
Against Kansas State, he was unconscious.
Richardson finished the game with 23 points, a personal best for him.
Ever the unselfish player, he credited his teammates for always looking out for him down the court.
He said that what makes the team dangerous is that nobody cares about who’s going to be the hero. Everybody just wants to win.
“We’re winners,” Richardson added. “We have a team full of winners. We know we can play with the best teams. It’s been a culmination of a lot of things.”
If people were not believers in the school’s basketball program, they are certainly paying attention now.
Coach Porter Moser said that when he first came to the school, he had no idea that there was a campus by that name in Chicago. But everybody welcomed him with open arms.
“It just means so much to the Loyola community and Chicago as a whole and the world knows Loyola is no fluke and we belong here. I still cant believe it,” he said. “It’s such a surreal feeling. I don’t know when it’s going to hit me.”
The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers are the fifth team in double-digit seeding to punch a ticket to the Final Four. But the Cinderella story is not done yet.