Glen “Big Baby” Davis (11)
Glen “Big Baby” Davis (11)
Loyola-Chicago Advanced to Sweet 16
DALLAS – Junior guard Clayton Custer connected on the game-winning shot with 3.6 seconds left as 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago pulled off its second straight upset, topping No. 3 Tennessee 63-62 on Saturday at American Airlines Center in Dallas to reach the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 1985.
Custer’s 12-foot shot bounced off the rim, touched off the backboard and dropped through the net as the Ramblers (30-5) won their 12th consecutive game. Senior forward Aundre Jackson scored 16 points and Custer scored 10 as Loyola-Chicago set a program record for victories in a season.
“The ball hit the front of rim and popped up in the air,” Custer said in a postgame television interview on TNT. “I think that is just all the years of hard work coming into one play. … To get that bounce on that shot, it makes all those hours in the gym worth it. I cannot believe that just happened.”
Tennessee sophomore guard Jordan Bone had a chance to give his team the win but his shot bounced off the back of the rim as time expired.
Junior forward Admiral Schofield scored 14 points and Bone had 13 for the Volunteers (26-9). Sophomore forward Grant Williams added 12 points and sophomore guard Lamonte Turner had 10.
Loyola-Chicago, which upset Miami (Fla.) at the buzzer in the first round of the South Regional, will face either Nevada or Cincinnati in the Sweet 16.
Williams converted a go-ahead three-point play with 20.1 seconds remaining to give the Volunteers a 62-61 lead prior to Custer’s memorable shot.
Loyola-Chicago shot 50 percent from the field. The Volunteers shot 45.5 percent.
The Ramblers led 38-29 with 17 minutes remaining after Custer and senior guard Donte Ingram knocked down 3-pointers.
Tennessee trimmed its deficit to 40-39 on a 3-pointer by Turner with 12:55 to go but Loyola-Chicago whipped up a 10-2 surge. Freshman guard Lucas Williamson and sophomore guard Bruno Skokna hit 3-pointers during the run as the Ramblers made it 50-41 with 10:01 to play.
Volunteers senior guard James Daniel III knocked down a 3-pointer to halt the momentum and Bone’s jumper moved Tennessee within 53-48 with 6:24 to play. But Loyola-Chicago answered with five straight points with Jackson’s layup making it a 10-point margin with 4:04 to play.
Schofield drained a 3-pointer for his first points in 31:45 to get the Volunteers back within 58-51 with 3:53 remaining. His shot jump-started an 14-3 surge that saw Tennessee take its only lead of the second half.
Jackson scored 10 first-half points as Loyola-Chicago led 29-25 at the break.
–Field Level Media
TAMPA – Tuukka Rask had 23 saves while picking up his third shutout of the season and Torey Krug had three assists to lead the Boston Bruins to a 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in a battle of the Atlantic Division’s top two teams on Saturday night at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.
It was the 41st career shutout for Rask and marked the first time this season that Tampa Bay (48-19-4, 100 points) was shut out. David Pastrnak, David Backes and Riley Nash each scored goals for the Bruins (45-17-8, 98), who moved within two points of the first place Lightning with a game in hand. It also was the fifth time that Rask shut out Tampa Bay in his career.
Andrei Vasilevskiy had 24 saves for the Lightning, who dropped their second consecutive game.
Boston, coming in off a 3-0 blanking at Florida on Thursday, scored two goals in the first 10:54 to take a 2-0 first-period lead. Pastrnak started the scoring when he took a pass from Krug while cutting in front of the net and backhanded a shot just inside the right skate of Vasilevskiy for his 28th goal of the season.
Backes followed with a rebound of a Krug shot which caromed off the back boards and straight in front of the net.
The Bruins scored their second power play goal of the night at 12:33 of the second period when Riley Nash put in a rebound in front of the net for his 14th goal of the season.
Backes left the game with 21.2 seconds left in the first period after suffering a laceration above his right knee from the skate of Yanni Gourde during a goalmouth scrum and didn’t return. The team tweeted the injury required “several stitches” and that Backes was “resting and would not return.”
–Field Level Media
NEW ORLEANS – The Boston Celtics got back one of several injured players while snapping a two-game slide in Orlando, but they figure to remain short-handed when they visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. Kyrie Irving (knee) has missed two straight contests while fellow starting guard Jaylen Brown (concussion) has no timetable for a return, and with the Celtics comfortably in second place in the Eastern Conference, there is no rush for either player to come back.
All-Star Al Horford did manage to return from an illness to produce 15 points and nine rebounds in Friday’s 92-83 win over the Magic as Boston won its third straight on the road. “It wasn’t pretty,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters after his team held Orlando to 39.1 percent shooting. “We obviously didn’t make a ton of shots, but our defense was pretty darn good.” Despite receiving 26 points and 13 rebounds from Anthony Davis, the Pelicans dropped a 107-101 home decision to Houston on Saturday and remain in a tight eight-team race for six playoff spots in the Western Conference. Davis scored 45 points to lead New Orleans to a 116-113 overtime triumph at Boston on Jan. 16, evening the all-time series at 17 wins apiece.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, NBCS Boston, FS New Orleans
ABOUT THE CELTICS (47-22): Terry Rozier has made the most of his opportunities when Irving has been out this season and is averaging 19.4 points in five starts after scoring 17 at Orlando. “I’m just not even thinking about it,” Rozier told reporters. “I’m going out there and having a lot of fun and just playing the right way. My coaches and my teammates do a great job of just giving me that confidence and letting me build off of it.” Shane Larkin also has seen his playing time increase with Irving out and is averaging 10.5 points while making 3-of-4 3-pointers over his last two games.
ABOUT THE PELICANS (39-30): Alvin Gentry became the latest coach to criticize the officiating after railing against the referees following Saturday’s loss – particularly as it relates to Davis, who attempted just four free throws in 36 minutes. “AD, he never gets a call,” Gentry told reporters. “You know why? Because he doesn’t (moan) and complain about it … You can’t guess on plays when teams are playing for playoff spots.” Gentry chose to rest point guard Rajon Rondo, who registered 17 assists and five steals against Charlotte on Tuesday, in the opener of New Orleans’ back-to-back set.
1. Celtics C Greg Monroe has averaged 16.5 points over his last two contests while making 14-of-17 shots.
2. Davis has recorded at least a double-double in 10 of his last 11 games.
3. Boston rookie SF Abdel Nader has scored in double digits in each of his last two games after doing so just once in his first 33 contests.