PHOENIX (AP) — Cameron Krutwig tracked a shot by Vanderbilt’s Saben Lee with the clock winding down, bulled his way to the right side of the lane and snared the rebound. Almost in the same motion, he raised his arm in the air and let out a yell.
Krutwig’s coach said he probably didn’t know the rebound gave him a triple-double. The Loyola Chicago big man’s reaction said otherwise.
Krutwig had 22 points, 10 assists and grabbed a rebound on the final play to close out a triple-double to help the Ramblers knock off Vanderbilt 78-70 in the Hall of Fame Showcase Wednesday night.
“He’s so in the moment of every play,” Loyola Chicago coach Porter Moser said. “Guarantee he didn’t know he had a triple-double because that’s who he is.”
Behind Krutwig, Loyola Chicago (8-4) dominated the paint, outscoring the Commodores 46-32 and shot 56%.
The Ramblers went on a short second-half run to build the lead to 10 and held off Vanderbilt to win their fifth straight game — longest since taking 14 in a row during a surprising run to the 2018 Final Four.
The only thing left in doubt over the closing seconds was whether Krutwig would get Loyola Chicago’s first triple-double in more than 30 years. He couldn’t secure the final rebound when teammate Lucas Williamson missed a free throw, but nabbed Lee’s missed drive just as the buzzer sounded.
“Some of the guys on the bench were giving me smiles, stuff like that because we have really good chemistry,”said Krutwig, who made 8 of 13 shots. “It’s cool, but I’m more excited about this win. This team needed this kind of statement win.”
Vanderbilt (6-4) had numerous defensive breakdowns, particularly in the second half, and was no match for Krutwig inside. The Commordores also hurt themselves by going 13 for 22 on free throws.
Aaron Nesmith had 23 points and Saben Lee added 18 for the Commodores.
“We just have to find a way to take away something. I don’t think we took away enough,” Vanderbilt first-year coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “They shot 56% and it’s tough to win at any level when I team shoots like that.”
The Commodores have been given a green light from long range Stackhouse, taking 44% of their shots from the 3-point arc through the first nine games. Vanderbilt has struggled to get shots to fall while losing two of three before arriving in the desert, shooting a season-low 35% overall in a 61-56 loss to Liberty on Saturday.
The Commodores were a little better in the first half, hitting 10 of 23 shots, but trailed 35-31 at halftime. Nesmith had 11.
The Ramblers, as they usually do, worked through Krutwig and the big man was effective in the first half, scoring 10 points while dishing out five assists.
“He’s a load on the block, has a good feel, is a good passer,” Stackhouse said. “He makes the right plays and is definitely a matchup problem.”
Neither team could get separation through most of the second half, neither team able to go up more than five until Hall hit a 3-pointer to put the Ramblers up 62-54 with five minutes left.
Vanderbilt continued to struggle stopping the Ramblers and was unable to pull closer than six.
Loyola Chicago was crisp offensively after a stop-and-start first half and shut down Vanderbilt defensively to beat a Power Five school for the eighth time in eight seasons.
Vanderbilt had trouble on defense all night, particularly against Krutwig to lose for the third time in four games.
Vanderbilt host UNC Wilmington on Saturday.
Loyola Chicago hosts Davidson on Sunday.
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