They also pulled off the feat of forcing a coach to re-insert his starters after yanking them for the night. A flustered Thad Matta sent Thomas, William Buford and Jared Sullinger back in with 2:18 remaining after the Greyhounds trimmed a 20-point deficit to 11.
“If we come out the way we played today, we’re definitely going to be packing our bags and going home for sure,” Sullinger said. “I think it was a big-time wake-up call.”
As for Loyola, it was an instructive moment for a team that probably arrived on this stage a year earlier than anticipated. While Patsos fretted about the impending loss of Walker, he remained philosophical about the task his team faced to finish it season.
“I checked the rankings for the preseason; they were like third,” Patsos said. “You know, you’re not really going to win that game without having everything go right and we didn’t have everything go right. But we played hard and competed and the guys had a great experience.”