2022 Missouri Valley championship game: Loyola Chicago holds off Drake to return to NCAA Tournament
Loyola Chicago poses with the championship trophy as they punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament/Photo: Keith Gillett/Iconsportswire via Getty Images

It wouldn't be March without Sister Jean and Loyola Chicago as the Ramblers toughed out a 64-58 victory over Drake in the finals of the 2022 Missouri Valley tournament.

Lucas Williamson capped off a terrific tournament with 18 points and 10 rebounds as he was named tournament MVP. Aher Uguak also posted a double with 16 points and 10 boards.

Roman Penn led the Bulldogs (25-7) with 18 points while Tucker DeVries added 15 points and a career-high five blocked shots as Drake (24-10) fell one win short of a second straight NCAA bid.

Loyola won third MVC tournament in the last five years in their final season in the conference as the Ramblers are moving to the Atlantic 10 starting in 2022-23.

Story of the game

Turnovers and poor shooting put Loyola in an early hole as Drake jumped out to an 18-8 lead as DeVries contributed five points in that span.

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Williamson and Ryan Schweiger keyed a 19-0 run, scoring 13 points combined during that stretch as the Bulldogs went 6:51 without a field goal, committing five turnovers in the process.

In what was turning into a game of runs, third seed Drake ended the half on a 7-0 run to close the gap to 27-25 at halftime. Penn had four of the seven.

The game remained close throughout the second half and after watching the lead shrink to 40-38, Loyola went on a 10-4 run, capped by a three-point play by Uguak.

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Trailing 55-46, Drake made one final push, scoring seven straight points to climb within two. Uguak made four free throws to push it back to a 60-53 lead.

A triple from Tremell Murphy and a pair of free throws from Penn cut it to 60-58, but late free throws by Schweiger and Jordan Norris iced the game and ensured Loyola's return to March Madness.