Indiana State Nips Loyola, 65-61
Jan. 22, 2014
CHICAGO - Visiting Indiana State used a key, 7-0 spurt in the latter stages of the second half to take the lead and made a couple of big plays down the stretch to hold off Loyola, 65-61, tonight at Gentile Arena. The Ramblers drop to 7-12 (2-5 MVC) while the Sycamores maintain their grasp on second place, improving to 15-4 (6-1).
"Tonight was a quintessential Valley game," said head coach Porter Moser. "Two teams playing extremely hard and grinding for the full 40 minutes and I thought that they made winning plays down the stretch and we did not. We did a lot of good things tonight and we played well enough to compete with the second-place team in this league but we did not do what we needed to do to win."
Both teams got off to slow starts on the offensive end with two Milton Doyle free throws opening the scoring after nearly two minutes. Doyle and Devon Turk combined for Loyola's first 12 points while ISU sixth-man Khristian Smith scored the Sycamores' first 11 points. The Ramblers opened a 17-11 lead on a Nick Osborne three-pointer and they still led 24-18 after a Doyle triple before Indiana State battled back. Seven straight points by Brandon Burnett kickstarted an 10-0 Indiana State run that gave the visitors a 28-24 lead but Jeff White scored the last three points of the period to cut the deficit to just one, 28-27, at intermission.
Indiana State knocked down back-to-back threes to open the second half before White answered from downtown. Two straight treys from Doyle, sandwiched around a Justin Gant dunk, pulled LU within a point (41-40) at the 14:09 mark. The teams traded baskets for the next five minutes before a Joe Crisman hoop pulled the Ramblers even at 48. Two Doyle free throws and a driving, transition lay-up from the Chicago native gave Loyola a 52-50 lead before Indiana State's Jake Odum took control.
The senior guard scored and was fouled to tie the game but missed the ensuing free throw. The loose rebound found its way back to Odum, who scored again while being fouled, this time hitting the free throw to cap a five-point trip that gave ISU a 55-52 lead. The lead fluctuated between three and five points the rest of the way, with the Ramblers' best chance to get closer coming in the final minute trailing by four. However, LU failed to convert and Indiana State hit enough free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
While Loyola shot 46% for the game and held the visitors to just 38.5% from the field, Indiana State's 41-28 edge on the backboards and 28-17 advantage in free throw attempts helped negate the shooting edge.
Doyle was terrific, scoring a game-high 20 points, his sixth game of 20 or more points this season. He was joined in double figures by White (13 points, six rebounds) and Christian Thomas (11 points, six rebounds). Smith led Indiana State with 18 points.
Loyola returns to action on Saturday afternoon when it hosts Northern Iowa in a 3 p.m. contest at Gentile Arena.