(New Orleans, La.) Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team concluded their season falling 61-60 to Blue Mountain College as Shane Butler made a game winning jumper with 11 seconds remaining Saturday evening in The Den.
Butler had the ball on the left wing, crossed over and rose for a 20 foot game winning shot. The Wolf Pack had a chance to answer, but Daniel Kuhl’s three pointer clanged off the iron as time expired.
Neither team had more than a five point lead throughout the game. The Toppers claimed the first such lead at 11-6 with only four minutes gone as Stefan Vukovic hit one of his three triples off an assist from Corbin Harris. However Jalen Gray answered with a triple on the Pack’s next possession to cut the lead back to two. The Wolf Pack pushed their own advantage to five with 3:25 remaining in the stanza when senior Cameron Hill made a two point bucket off a feed from Jared Townsend. Townsend provided energy off the bench in the first half with five rebounds and two assists. After Hill’s field goal, C.J. Barnes scored four points for the Toppers and the teams exchanged free throws which set up Hill to make the last basket of the first half as he made a layup with 31 seconds remaining to extend the Wolf Pack lead to 32-29.
The second half was a back and forth contest as the teams had eight ties in the period and neither team gained more than a four point advantage. Loyola (6-21, 5-15) held a four point edge with 1:08 left after the 11th tie of the game produced made two point field goals from Kyle Simmons and Jalen Gray which surrounded a turnover by Butler. However, Butler responded to the mistake by draining a three pointer with 48 seconds lead to cut the Wolf Pack advantage to 60-59. After, Townsend missed a shot, Josh Sheppard collected the rebound, to set up Butler’s game winner.
McCall Tomeny and Gray each tallied 12 points for the Pack. Hill had 10 with a team best nine rebounds. Gray and Townsend had two assists apiece while Roco Gandara had two blocks. The Wolf pack shot 44% for the game and outrebounded Blue Mountain 36-32.
Blue Mountain (9-20, 4-15) was paced by Sheppard who finished with 18 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. Butler scored the last five points of the game to finish with 15. The team shot only 42.4% but stayed in the game by only coughing the ball up nine times.
The Wolf Pack honored seniors Cameron Hill and Roco Gandara from the men’s team and Jasmine Brewer from the women’s team prior to tipoff of the game. This was the final regular season game for Loyola.