Following two big wins over Alemany and St. Francis, the Cubs looked to make it three in a row against the red-hot Notre Dame Knights.
PG: Jalen Cox, #3 (6’4”, Sr., PG)
SG: Matthias Wagner, #12 (6’1”, Sr., G)
SF: Chase Toliver, #21 (6’4”, Sr., F)
PF: Jacoby Kelly, #31 (6’3”, Sr., F)
C: Parker Jones, #13 (6’5”, Sr., G/F/C)
The Cubs began the first quarter trailing 6-0 when Jones scored a two to get the Cubs on the board. Notre Dame led 9-3 when Jalen Cox stole the ball and the Cubs retained possession. Parker Jones casually nailed a three from the volleyball line shortly after. Although the Cubs continued to trail, Jones kept on shooting, draining another three to make it a 14-9 deficit. Jones simply could not miss from beyond the arc, hitting his third three and cutting the Knights’ lead to five, 17-12, after the Knights made a three on the previous possession. Jonas de Krassel was key on the defensive end, getting a steal after Jones’s three and block when the lead was 19-16 Knights. The quarter ended shortly after, with Jones having 13 of the Cubs’ 16 points.
Score: 19-16 Notre Dame
The Knights made a three early in the second quarter, but Cox responded with a three of his own to make it a 22-19 ball game. Vincent Sampson blocked a layup on the next play, but the Cubs could not capitalize on the offensive end. After a Notre Dame dunk that extended their lead to six, Hugh Vandeweghe made a three, keeping the Cubs within striking distance, 29-26. However, the Knights proceeded to blow the game open, going on a 22-10 run, and the Cubs trailed by 15 at halftime.
Score: 51-36 Notre Dame
The third quarter was still controlled by the Knights, but the Cubs still found flashes of hope. They trailed 59-40 at the start of the quarter, but soon went on a 10-2 run to cut it to a 15-point deficit, 62-47. After two Notre Dame free throws, de Krassel drained a corner three thanks to an assist by Cox, encapsulating a 10-2 Loyola run. They still trailed by 14 at the end of the third, but ended the quarter with a Jones block and Cox half-court heave that nearly banked in.
Score: 64-50 Notre Dame
In the final frame, the Cubs attempted to mount a comeback. They trailed 67-50 after a Knight three-point-play, but Jones answered, making a free throw after swishing an and-one fadeaway with six minutes to go. The Cubs continued to make it interesting, as de Krassel’s three cut the lead down to 13 seconds later. Jones made two free throws to cut the lead down to 11, 69-58 with five minutes remaining. The momentum continued to swing in Loyola’s direction, as a Stern steal eventually led to a Toliver layup with four minutes to play. With 3:46 left to play and trailing 71-60, the Cubs mounted an 8-0 run and cut the lead down to three for the first time since the second quarter. Back-to-back steals led to more points for the Knights, and the Cubs were down 76-68 with 47 seconds to play. Another Cub turnover led to more free throws for the Knights, who made two more to ice the game. Pentz buried a three with ten seconds remaining, and the game ended with the Cubs coming up short.
FINAL: 78-71 Notre Dame
Parker Jones led all scorers with 25 points and three blocks. Cox and de Krassel had 16 and 15 points, respectively, to round out the top three scorers. The Cubs shot 35% from the field, 31% from three and 70% from the free throw line.
The Next Game
The Cubs look to redeem themselves when they play their rivals, the Harvard-Westlake Wolverines, on Friday, Jan. 14, at 7:00 PM.