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March Madness roundup: Loyola Chicago, Oral Roberts reach Sweet 16

March 21 (UPI) -- No. 8 seed Loyola Chicago and 15th-seeded Oral Roberts pulled off stunning upsets Sunday in Indianapolis to reach the Sweet 16 in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Loyola Chicago earned a 71-58 win over Illinois to bounce the Fighting Illini out of the tournament. They became the first No. 1 seed to lose in this year's tourney.

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Cameron Krutwig notched 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Ramblers (26-4), who led from beginning to end. Lucas Williamson and Marquise Kennedy each added 14 points.

"We just executed, played our game and controlled the game from the start," Krutwig said. "Nobody was really doing anything out of body or out of mind. We just stuck to the game plan."

RELATED March Madness roundup: No. 13 seed Ohio upsets Virginia in first round

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the Ramblers' 101-year-old team chaplain, provided the team with inspiration ahead of their matchup against the top-seeded Fighting Illini. She delivered a pregame prayer before taking in the game from a luxury suite at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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Sister Jean, who became an international celebrity during Loyola Chicago's improbable run to the Final Four in 2018, received COVID-19 vaccination shots so she could attend this year's NCAA men's tournament.

"As we play the Fighting Illini, we ask for special help to overcome this team and get a great win," she said as part of her pregame prayer. "We hope to score early and make our opponents nervous. We have a great opportunity to convert rebounds as this team makes about 50% of layups and 30% of its 3-points. Our defense can take care of that."

RELATED March Madness roundup: Oral Roberts stuns Ohio State to bust brackets

Illinois big man Kofi Cockburn finished with 21 points and nine rebounds. Adam Miller added 10 points for the Illini (24-7), who fell behind by 14 in the first half and never recovered.

Loyola Chicago will play either Oklahoma State or Oregon State in the next round.

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Meanwhile, Oral Roberts defeated No. 7 seed Florida 81-78 to pull off yet another upset.

The Golden Eagles, who beat second-seeded Ohio State in the first round, became only the second No. 15 seed in NCAA tournament history to advance to the Sweet 16, joining Florida Gulf Coast.

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Kevin Obanor and Max Abmas helped the Golden Eagles (18-10) erase an 11-point deficit to knock off the Gators. Obanor recorded 28 points and 11 rebounds, while Abmas -- the nation's leading scorer -- tallied 26 points and seven assists.

Tre Mann led Florida (15-10) with 19 points, but he failed to score over the final 17 minutes of the game. Noah Locke finished with 17 points, and Colin Castleton and Tyree Appleby both scored 14 for the Gators.

Oral Roberts will face No. 3 seed Arkansas in the next round. The Razorbacks held off sixth-seeded Texas Tech to move on.

Also Sunday, No. 11 seed Syracuse beat third-seeded West Virginia 75-72 to advance to the Sweet 16. No. 1 Baylor, No. 2 Houston and No. 5 Villanova also advanced to the round of 16.

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