Marques Townes hit a crucial three to give the Ramblers the lead for good. 

By Charlotte Carroll
March 22, 2018

Loyola-Chicago beat Nevada 69–68 on Thursday night to move on to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1963.

Marques Townes hit a crucial three to give the Ramblers a 69–65 lead with 6.3 seconds left. The Wolf Pack's Caleb Martin responded with a three of his own to make it 69–68, but Nevada couldn't get the win in the final seconds. 

The Wolf Pack fouled and forced the Ramblers to inbound the ball. On a long pass to Townes, it appeared that Townes traveled, but he wasn't called on it. Instead, he ran into Jordan Caroline, and Caroline picked up the foul. 

In the first half, Nevada got off to a hot start, taking a 20–8 lead at one point. The Wolf Pack's Caroline got into foul trouble early, and the Ramblers took advantage. But Nevada went scoreless for the last 7:55 of the first half, and Loyola went from down 12 to up by four to end the half, with a 28–24 lead. 

At halftime, Ramblers coach Porter Moser said that the team had settled down and started guarding, leading to Loyola's run. The Ramblers run continued in the second half: they started out on an 8–2 run to take a 10-point lead early on and didn't miss a shot in the second half until just under 11 minutes in, going 13-for-13.

But Nevada soon picked up speed, going on a 12–2 run to tie the game with just over three minutes left. The Ramblers struggled with the Wolf Pack's defense, not shooting before the shot clock ran out a few times. But Loyola took back the lead to eventually win the game in the last seconds. 

Townes led the Ramblers in scoring with 18 points and five assists.

The Ramblers last tournament appearance was 1985, where they were knocked out in the Sweet 16. Loyola last made it to the Elite Eight in 1963, going on to win it all. 

The team's 98-year-old chaplain, Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, has become a social media star during the Ramblers tourney run was there of course. She prayed with the team before the game. But Sister Jean didn't have the Ramblers making it past the Sweet 16.

Loyola next faces the winner of the Kansas State–Kentucky game in the Elite Eight on Saturday. 

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