Ben Fields sends the Wolf Pack to the second round


Accounting senior Benjamin Fields (32) plays on the defensive side at a Loyola home game. Fields’ last-minute shot sent Loyola to the second round of the national tournament. Photo credit: Andres Fuentes

Andres Fuentes

With 29 seconds left on the clock, Loyola needed the perfect play to send the men’s basketball team into the second round of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Championship tournament.

Being a part of the final 16 teams is territory the Wolf Pack team has not reached since 1946, and with a last-minute long ball from accounting senior Benjamin Fields lifted Loyola passed Missouri Baptist University, 68-67.

The first half was slow and gritty between the two teams, as the first 20 minutes of the game featured seven ties and nine lead changes, with neither team leading by more than five points.

However, the Spartans held a 42-39 lead at the end of the half and built on it when they hit the courts again. With 13 minutes remaining in the game, Missouri Baptist held a 54-45 lead after a nine-point run.

But computer science senior Tre’Von Jasmine kicked things off for Loyola with a three-pointer, sparking a 10-1 run. Business sophomore Terry Smith Jr. added to the offense with six-straight points of his own.

After three lead changes, Loyola led the game, 65-64, with 55 seconds remaining, but the Spartans hit a long ball, giving them a narrow advantage. Fields’ late-game deep shot marked the upset over the No. 9 team.

This marks the first win for the men’s team since 1946 when Loyola reached the Final Four.

Mass communication freshman Myles Burns scored 16 points and nine rebounds while mass communication freshman Zach Wrightsil earned 16 points too along with four rebounds, four assists and two blocks.

No. 24 Loyola moves on to face No. 8 Wayland Baptist and Arizona Christian on March 22 at 4 p.m.