Ben Richardson, No. 11 Loyola Chicago rout Kansas State to crash Final Four | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / August 10.
  • Ben Richardson, No. 11 Loyola Chicago rout Kansas State to crash Final Four

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Ben Richardson and Loyola Chicago are crashing the Final Four.

    Richardson went for a career-high 23 points, making 6-of-7 from beyond the arc, with 6 rebounds and 4 assists as the No. 11 Ramblers blew out No. 9 Kansas State, 78-62, in entertaining fashion to win the South Regional in Atlanta and punch their tickets to the Final Four. Richardson was named the region’s Most Outstanding Player.

    Loyola (32-5), the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament champion, wil face Michigan in one national semifinal next Saturday in San Antonio. The Wolverines beat Florida State, 58-54, in the West Regional final.

    “We believed that we could do something like this, do something really special because we had such good chemistry and we had such a good group,” Richardson told TBS.

    The last No. 11 seed to reach the Final Four was VCU in 2011.

    “We’re a bunch of guys that everybody laughed at,” Loyola guard Clayton Custer told TBS. “Nobody thought that we could do any of this.”

    Loyola shot a remarkable 57 percent from the field to K-State’s 35 percent.

    New Jersey native Marques Townes, who hit the dagger three-pointer in Loyola’s 69-68 win over Nevada on Thursday, had 13 points to go with 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Townes said he heard from former high school teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Wade Baldwin, after the Nevada win. Both Towns are Baldwin are in the NBA.

    Donte Ingram added 12 points and 8 rebounds for Loyola.

    But Richardson was the main storyline by leading the offense and entertaining the crowd with his long-range attack.

    “Ben Richardson was the best player on the floor tonight,” Custer said.

    Said Richardson: “It doesn’t really matter who it is, but we have a ton of guys that can make shots and have a good game. And the way this team is so unselfish, the ball usually finds the hot hand or the open guy. We’ve shown in the tournament everyone’s had a big night and the ball has really found that guy. And tonight it just happened to be me and I was up for the challenge.”

    Xavier Sneed had 16 points and 6 rebounds apiece for Kansas State, which was coming off Thursday’s 61-58 win over Kentucky. K-State star Barry Brown scored 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting.

    Custer made the all-tournament team, as did Ingram, Sneed and Brown Jr.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.