NEW ORLEANS — The third-seeded Loyola Wolf Pack men’s basketball team experienced a first-round upset in the NAIA National Championship tournament on Tuesday, losing to No. 14-seed SAGU in The Den, 82-71.
The defending NAIA National Champions finished the season 24-7 overall.
In the first half, the Lions started things off, taking a 5-0 lead to start the game. A Milan Mejia 3, along with a Jalen Galloway jumper tied the game, but SAGU kept the ball rolling. With 15 minutes left in the half, the Lions had taken a 16-7 lead. At the midway point of the half, SAGU had taken a 10-point lead, 21-11. With five minutes until halftime, a Mejia 3 and a Harden steal and layup put the SAGU lead at six, 26-20. On the last possession of the first half, a Galloway trey, assisted by Matthew Mondesir, put the Lion lead at four, 33-29.
The Wolf Pack kept their momentum going into the second half, reducing the Lion lead to three with a Mejia triple. The teams traded shots with the Pack continuing to keep pace with SAGU. With just under 11 minutes left in the second half, Zach Muller scored to make the score 51-50. Bradley Alcime tied the game with a free throw at 51-51, but SAGU drilled a 3-pointer to keep their lead. Loyola tied it up at 54-54 with an and-1 from Leonard Jackson. Once again, Alex Hammond tied the game at 56-56 with 8:43 left in the game.
Then, Jalen Galloway gave the Pack their first lead of the game with a jumper assisted by Alex Hammond. After SAGU tied it back up, the Pack went back up two with 7:32 on the clock, and two made free throws from Hammond extended the Loyola lead, 62-58. Matthew Mondesir continued to put his stamp on the tournament match, getting a putback after a missed 3 to take the lead with 4:30 left, 64-62. With just under three minutes left, though, SAGU had taken back their lead and made the score 68-65 with a mid-range shot. With 58 seconds left on the clock, the Lions had a 74-68 lead and they made enough free throws to ice the game.
Tuesday, Mar. 7 at The Den
Game 1: #6 Tougaloo def. #11 Texas A&M Texarkana, 75-65
Game 2: #14 SAGU def. #3 Loyola, 82-71
Wednesday, Mar. 8 at The Den
Game 3: #14 SAGU vs. #6 Tougaloo
*Courtesy Loyola Wolf Pack Sports Information