ROGERS PARK- The Loyola Ramblers just haven’t been the same without sophomore guard Milton Doyle in the lineup. He missed his sixth consecutive game Saturday as the Ramblers (14-10 overall, 4-8 Missouri Valley) fell to the Indiana State Sycamores (12-12, 8-4) 79-65 at the Gentile Center.
Since Doyle went down with an ankle injury back on January 18th, Porter Moser‘s team has gone 1-6. Doyle’s team leading 11 points, four assists, and 49-percent field goal shooting per game have been sorely missed.
His absence was clearly felt as the Ramblers offense looked flat all day against ISU. They made only 25-of-53 field goal attempts (47-percent), just 3-of-12 three-point shots (25-percent), and never led the game once (tied the game just twice).
Committing 11 turnovers didn’t help matters, plus they also struggled at the free throw line by only making 12-of-18 shots (66-percent) from the charity stripe.
Aside from Doyle’s absence, senior forward Christian Thomas (also averaging 11 points per game) played his first game after missing the last few with a concussion. Thomas struggled in his return as he only contributed three points and two rebounds in 18 minutes of play.
Junior guard Earl Peterson -who started for Doyle- was the lone bright spot for LU on Saturday as he led the team with 21 points (9-of-17 shooting). He was the only Rambler to finish in double figures, he also added five rebounds and three assists.
Junior guard Jeff White and senior guard London Dokubo were held scoreless, while the rest of the team only pitched in single digits. Loyola also struggled defensively. They allowed four Sycamore players -junior guard Devonte Brown (22 points), freshman guard Brenton Scott (21), senior center Jake Kitchell and senior forward Justin Gant (12 each)- to finish in double figures.
They also surrendered 15 points off of those aforementioned 11 turnovers, and at one point Loyola trailed by as many as 17 points. After the game coach Moser emphasized how much the team misses and needs Doyle on the court.
“Our offense just stops (without Doyle)”, said Moser in his post game press conference, “we don’t have our point guard” he added.
Moser also stressed that other players on his team need to perform better. “(Peterson) is coming along, I think (freshman guard) Ben Richardson is coming along, (junior guard Devon) Turk is a great shooter for us, but… we don’t have our point guard (Doyle) right now.
“We gotta get more production from (White), (Peterson) is stepping up for us, but (Doyle) creates offense for us. Other guys gotta step up (until Doyle returns).”
As for when Doyle might come back Moser would only say, “he’ll be looked at next week.” Hopefully the Ramblers will get some good news before they host Southern Illinois next Wednesday. Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82