Saturday, Feb. 9, the Loras College Mens (18-5) basketball team traveled to Coe College (14-9) to take on the Kohawks in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Duhawks struggled early, but fought back in the second half to win the game 74-71 and snap the Kohawks’ four game win streak.
Loras started ice-cold as they went the first three minutes and 16 seconds scoreless as Coe jumped to an eight point lead. First-year Jordan Matthews was brought in at the 16:56 mark and end the drought with a three-point basket in under 12 seconds of play.
Not much changed for the Duhawks as they continued to play catch-up basketball. Coe held a 14-point lead with about five minutes left in the first half before the Duhawks whittled it down to 6 at half. Another impact player, first-year Jordan Boyd, kept the game competitive for the Duhawks. Boyd scored 11 of his 19 total points in the first half and also had four rebounds. Loras finished the half shooting only 21.4 percent but was able to keep it close by out rebounding Coe 21-18. Coach Martin described the rebounding effort as “crucial” to getting back in the game.
“The team looked too passive.”, Coach Martin said. Coach Martin and the team went through the pregame routine and everything seemed really positive but it did not carryover to the court right away. Instead of playing the Loras way by playing aggressive, they were looking to capitalize on Coe’s mistakes.
In the Second half, Loras got back to playing the Loras way. Although they were still down for most of the second half, they kept forcing the Kohawks to make tough shots and make mistakes. With 8:33 left in the half, senior Ryan DiCanio delivers the ball to a slashing sophomore Cole Navigato. Navigato makes the lay-up and the free-throw to get within one. On the next possession, Josh Ruggles draws the foul and sinks both free-throws to give the Duhawks their first lead of the night, 55-54.
The two teams go back-and-forth for a bit before another Ruggles’ basket and a Boyd dunk regains the lead for good.
Duhawks shot 62.1 percent in the second half to lead the way to their 74-71 victory last Saturday.
Off the bench, Boyd finished the game with his second career double. He had 19 points on 63.6% shooting and adding 11 rebounds. Ruggles scored 19 point and added 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
After the game, Coach Martin discussed the benefits of the freshman core with the surrounding seniors Ryan DiCanio, Demond George, Will McClaughry, Josh Ruggles, and Jake Toman. When asked about Boyd’s game, Coach Martin opened up about the ability to adjust his game plan.
“He’s [Boyd] given us post presence,” said Coach Martin. Boyd allowed the Loras team to create opportunities down low.
The Duhawks win clinched their spot in the American Rivers Conference Tournament. Loras will has two more games left before they kicks off the tournament Tuesday, Feb. 19.