Jan. 8, 2009
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Loyola University Chicago (9-7, 1-3 Horizon) won the battle of the boards, but shot only 32 percent from the field as Cleveland State (12-5, 3-2 Horizon) picked up a 76-50 victory tonight at the Wolstein Center. Despite the loss, the Ramblers are 7-3 in their last 10 contests. Loyola outrebounded Cleveland State, 41-32, and grabbed 19 offensive rebounds, but converted those offensive boards into only 18 second-chance points.
"Cleveland State really jumped us in the first half," Loyola head coach Jim Whitesell said. "They handled us pretty easily tonight and took us out of what we wanted to do offensively."
The host Vikings scored the first eight points of the game and opened up a 31-11 lead in the first 13 minutes of the contest and never looked back. Cleveland State shot a sizzling 65 percent from the field in the opening period, while holding the Ramblers to 28 percent shooting.
Loyola turned up the heat defensively in the second half, forcing the Vikings to miss their first five shots, while also forcing a turnover. However, the Ramblers were unable to capitalize on that golden opportunity to cut into the deficit as they committed three turnovers of their own, and failed to score a point, in the opening 90 seconds of the half. Loyola limited Cleveland State to 32 percent shooting in the second period.
Back-to-back lay-ups from Walt Gibler brought Loyola within 17, at 59-42, with 12:10 remaining in the game, but from there, CSU went on a 14-2 run to put the game away.
J.R. Blount tallied a team-high 16 points to lead Loyola, and in the process topped the 1,400-point plateau for his career, to move ahead of Andre Moore for 14th place on the school's all-time chart. Blount has amassed 1,408 points in his career and was the only Rambler to score in double figures this evening. Leon Young chipped in nine points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Cleveland State was led by J'Nathan Bullock's 20 points.
Loyola completes its weekend trip to Ohio when it travels to Youngstown State on Saturday, Jan. 10.