Loyola-Chicago downs Florida in latest major hoops upset

Dec 4, 2017; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators head coach Mike White reacts against the Florida State Seminoles during the second half at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Loyola-Chicago continued a strong week for non-power-conference teams by pulling off a monumental upset of No. 6 Florida on Wednesday night.

A day after Ball State shocked No. 9 Notre Dame, Loyola stunned Florida in a defensively geared 65-59 victory in Gainesville, Fla.

No Gator scored in double figures, and Ramblers forward Aundre Jackson lit up the home team’s defense for 23 points — including 3-of-3 proficiency from long range. Loyola improved to 8-1 on the season, and dropped Florida to 5-3, but this particular win differs considerably not only from the Ramblers’ work thus far this season but from their modern basketball resume.

Loyola beat the likes of Missouri-Kansas City, Kent State and Samford — before losing to Boise State by 34 — before trekking to Gainesville. And the Ramblers do not have a 21st-century NCAA Tournament appearance. Their last came in the pre-3-point line era, in the 1984-85 season. Loyola has just two 20-plus-win seasons since that tourney cameo.

It’s been a tough week for the Gators, who lost to Florida State by 17 on Monday.

But the Missouri Valley Conference team delivered consistent work throughout Wednesday night, leading the Gators by three at the half and bouncing back even after blowing a double-digit first-half lead. Florida captured its first lead early in the second half, but back-to-back Jackson buckets put them behind by two possessions again. And they did not lead again.

The Gators slashed the deficit to 61-59 just outside of 1 minute, 30 seconds remaining but failed to score again. Cameron Krutwig (14 points) and Donte Ingram (11) supported Jackson in the upset.

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