Oregon State Leads Loyola-Chicago at Halftime of Sweet 16 Game

Lowest halftime point-total of the NCAA tournament
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Defenses dominated the first half of Saturday's Sweet 16 game between 12th-seeded Oregon State and eighth-seeded Loyola of Chicago.

Oregon State led Loyola 24-16 at halftime of the NCAA tournament contest in Indianapolis. It was the lowest first-half point total by both teams combined in the NCAA tournament. 

Neither team did much on offense in the first 20 minutes. Oregon State was 8-for-24 from the field (33.3.%), and Loyola was 4-for-23 (17.4%) made just 1 of 9 three-point shots. The Ramblers had more turnovers (five) than field goals (four) in the first half.

Ethan Thompson led the Beavers with 10 points, and Warith Alatishe scored at the halftime buzzer to make it an eight-point lead.

The Beavers' offense got off to a terrible start against a tough Loyola defense that leads the nation in scoring defense, yielding just 55.8 points per game.

Oregon State missed its first six shots from the floor, and nine minutes into the game it had more turnovers (five) than points (three). The Beavers were fortunate to be trailing only by six points, at 9-3 with 11 minutes remaining in the half, as their defense did its part.

When Ethan Thompson made a three-pointer with 10:37 left in the half, the Beavers trailed 9-6, and when Rodrigue Andela scored on a follow shot with 9:03 left, the deficiit was down to one point.  The Ramblers were 2-for-12 from the field at that point, including 0-fr-6 on three-pointers.

Oregon State took the lead at 10-9 on a Maurice Calloo jumper with 8:17 to go before Loyola scored to end its scoreless run that lasted more than six minutes.

A bucket my Roman Silva with 3:52 left gave the Beavers a four-point advantage at 20-16.

The winner of the Oregon State-Loyola-Chicago game will advance to the Elite Eight on Monday night and will face the winner of Saturday's late game between Syracuse and Houston.

Oregon State (19-12) came into Saturday's game on a five-game win streak, all of which were upsets and all of which were against teams that played in the NCAA tournament.

Loyola (26-4) began the day on an eight-game winning streak, which included the 71-58 upset of No. 1 seed Illinois.

And, of course, Sister Jean was in the house on Saturday for Loyola's game.

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Click here to see the entire NCAA tournament bracket.

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Cover photo of Oregon State's Zach Reichle by Marc Lebryk.

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Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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