By Joe Tischler
Special to The Free Press
Nicollet came into Thursday night’s Valley Conference game against Mankato Loyola on a high after getting its first win of the season Monday night against Madelia.
The Crusaders, however, made sure it wasn’t going to be two wins in a row for the Raiders as junior guard Carson Seifert poured in 27 points to help Loyola cruise to an 89-49 win at Fitzgerald Gym.
Nicollet’s Colin Bloemke hit a baseline jumper to give the Raiders a 2-0 lead 40 seconds into the contest. That was their only lead of the game.
Loyola then went on an 11-0 run in a two-minute span led by Seifert and senior forward Connor Tanhoff. Seifert hit the first of his five first half 3-pointers in the spurt, and Tanhoff bookended the run with jump shots.
The Crusaders then went on a 23-4 run over the game’s next five minutes to break the game open. Seifert hit three more 3s en route to scoring 21 first half points.
“We shot pretty well tonight, shot lights out actually,” said Seifert. “I felt pretty good. My teammates got me the ball when I was open.”
Seifert was 10 of 13 from the floor, including 5 of 7 from beyond the arc.
“He’s our best shooter; he’s our leading scorer,” Loyola coach Tim Anderson said. “He can shoot from outside, but he can take the ball to the basket, too, and get to the free-throw line, which makes him a real all-around player.”
Loyola as a team shot 63 percent from the field (36 of 57) and was 10 of 18 (56 percent) from 3-point range.
Junior forward Alex Piementel scored 16 points, collected six rebounds and dished out five assists. Tanhoff scored 14, and junior Ryan Van Blarcom added 11. Senior Evan Ellingworth led Loyola with eight assists.
“When you’re shooting the ball well, it’s kind of contagious,” Anderson said. “It really gets everything going. It gets your defense going ... so that was fun to see, not only Carson shooting well, but everyone shooting the ball well.”
For Nicollet, junior forward Matt Christenson scored 15 points. Colin Bloemke had 13 points, and Matt Fischer added 12.
Loyola (9-7, 6-2 in Valley) will travel to Maple River today. Nicollet (1-12, 1-8) will host Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial on Friday.