By Chris Lehman
The Gentile Center was practically shaking Wednesday night as the Loyola men’s basketball team dug a deep first-half hole for itself and made a furious second-half comeback before falling short to the DePaul Blue-Demons in a highly anticipated cross-town rivalry.
This was the first time the two teams had met on Loyola’s turf in over 30 years. A crowd of around 4,000 rocked the building before the game’s tip-off. DePaul took control of the game from the start and would hold onto the lead, eventually winning 69-58.
The first half of the game wasn’t even close. DePaul got hot early as they led at the half 47-17. This wasn’t the start that the Loyola fans had hoped to see in the new Gentile Center.
Earlier in the week, Loyola’s freshman guard London Dokubo laid out exactly what they would have to watch out for.
“Coach has been stressing the effectiveness of their ability to pressure full court and how fast they play,” Dokubo said. “He says it’s crucial that we limit turnovers and offensive rebounds.”
This proved to be exactly the case as Loyola suffered turnover after turnover.
Freshman, Sam Penzenstadler expressed his frustration with the Ramblers’ sub-par play in the first half.
“They could not make a basket! Especially the free-throws. It seemed like they missed every one,” said the 19-year-old math major. “Also, they had a lot of turnovers of poorly-thrown passes.”
The DePaul side of the stands celebrated at halftime, while the Loyola section looked on in disbelief. The game seemed over, until the second half started. Perhaps the halftime ceremony, in which the 1963 National Champions were honored helped motivate the Ramblers as they came out of the locker room with erupting with energy.
Early in the second half, they picked slowly at the lead until they had managed a 17-0 run. Depth turned out to be a problem in this game, seeing as the bench did not provide any points.
Walt Gibler led the charge to finish the game with 29 points. Freshman guard, Joe Crisman added fourteen points to the team’s total. Sophomore nursing student, Christina Broscheit loved Gibler’s ability to bring the team back.
“I didn’t think we had a chance to come back, but we almost did. Walt Gibler turned on that Walt swag,” Broscheit said.
While the Ramblers weren’t able to come back for the win, it was still promising to see such a valiant effort in the second half. With a sixth man like they had tonight, the team should stay motivated to play their best.