Loyola raises their Final Four banner before a season-opening win against UMKC

The Loyola Ramblers men's basketball team gathers for a group photograph in front of a Final Four banner during a pregame ceremony for the season opener against the UMKC Kangaroos at Gentile Arena Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Chicago, Ill. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – Memories of a run to the Final Four will last a lifetime, but the final celebration of a memorable March in Rogers Park came on Tuesday night.

That’s when the accomplishment of Loyola’s 2018-2019 team got the banner treatment at Gentile Arena.

 

For the first time since 1963, the Ramblers raised a Final Four banner to the rafters of their home arena. It came after Loyola charged through the South Region of the NCAA Tournament as an 11th seed last March, defeating Miami, Tennessee, Nevada, and Kansas State to clinch a spot in the National Semifinal.

They’d lose to Michigan to fall short of an appearance in the National Championship, but the run has the potential to transform a program forever.

Oh, by the way, the Ramblers picked up where they left off in their season opener against UMKC.

Newcomer Cooper Kaifes had a remarkable debut for Loyola off the bench, scoring 19 points in 19 minutes on 6-of-8 shooting from the field in pacing the Ramblers’ 76-45 victory. Guard Marques Townes has 13 points while Cameron Krutwig contributed ten as the home team led 40-18 at the break and never looked back.

They’re back at home on Friday against Furman, playing under the banner the earned eight months ago for a second time.

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