National Basketball Association
Loyola-Chicago 75, Drake 65
When: 2:10 PM ET, Sunday, March 7, 2021
Where: Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Officials: # Kipp Kissinger, # Gerry Polland, # John Higgins
Attendance: 1265

Braden Norris and Cameron Krutwig each scored 20 points Sunday as 20th-ranked Loyola Chicago earned the Missouri Valley Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 75-65 win over Drake in the conference tournament final in St. Louis.

Keith Clemons added 13 for the Ramblers (24-4), which canned 59.1 percent of their field goal attempts, including a blistering 10 of 17 from the 3-point line. Top-seeded Loyola also converted 12 of 14 free throws in the second half and drew 19 assists off 26 made buckets.

Tremell Murphy and D.J. Wilkins each tallied 20 points for the second-seeded Bulldogs (25-4), while Joseph Yesufu added 12 but made just 4 of 15 shots from the field. Despite an impressive overall record, Drake now faces a long week on the bubble to see if it gets an at-large bid.

The Ramblers led by as many as 17 points in the second half after Norris bombed in a 3-pointer with 9:27 left for a 56-39 advantage. Playing without leading scorer ShanQuan Hemphill and top assist man Roman Penn, both out with broken feet, the Bulldogs pulled within eight with 7:38 remaining on Murphy's 3-pointer but couldn't get any closer.

In the third matchup of the teams in three weeks -- they split a two-game series on Valentine's Day weekend in Des Moines, Iowa -- Loyola controlled most of the first 10 minutes behind a defense that entered the game allowing the fewest points per game in Division I at 55.2.

The Ramblers led 15-7 at the 11:34 mark and then 24-14 with 9:05 left after Norris converted a layup in transition, forcing a Drake timeout.

At that point, the Bulldogs found traction, ripping off 10 consecutive points to even the score at 24 after Yesufu canned a 3-pointer.

Loyola answered with a 10-2 burst to go up 34-26 when Norris drilled a 3-pointer with 4:01 remaining. But Drake clamped down for the half's remainder and pulled within three before a Jacob Hutson bucket allowed the Ramblers to take a 36-31 lead to intermission.

--Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
Drake   Loyola-Chicago
Tremell Murphy 20 Scoring Cameron Krutwig 20
D.J. Wilkins 4 Assists Tate Hall 4
Darnell Brodie 11 Rebounds Cameron Krutwig 8
D.J. Wilkins 4 Free Throws Made Cameron Krutwig 6
Joseph Yesufu 3 Steals Braden Norris 3
N/A Blocks Cameron Krutwig 2
Team Stats Summary
Team Points FG% 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA Assists Rebounds Blocks Steals Turnovers
Drake 65 43.6 7-16 10-12 11 22 0 6 8
Loyola-Chicago 75 59.1 10-17 13-15 19 28 4 5 13