Blount's Big Night Lifts Loyola Past Valparaiso, 65-63
Jan. 26, 2008
VALPARAISO, Ind. - J.R. Blount's driving lay-up with four seconds left helped Loyola University Chicago (7-13, 3-7 Horizon) snap an eight-game road losing skid with a 65-63 victory over Valparaiso (14-7, 5-4 Horizon) tonight at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The junior guard's winning basket puts him at 1,001 career points and he becomes the 37th player in Loyola's storied history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
The Ramblers got off to a strong start an played perhaps their best first half on the road this season. Behind seven three-point field goals in the opening 20 minutes, the Ramblers led by as many as 10 points. Blount netted 13 of his game-high 19 points in the first period, as Loyola shot 56 percent (14 for 25) from the field and 64 percent (7 for 11) from beyond the arc.
Much like the first half, the Ramblers started the second half with a flourish, and Justin Cerasoli's lay-up with 16:03 left in the game gave Loyola a 50-37 lead, its largest of the contest. But the host Crusaders fought back and took a 63-57 lead thanks to a 26-7 run over the next 14 minutes. Tracy Robinson hit four foul shots to bring the Ramblers within two points and Ross Forman, who hadn't been to the free-throw stripe since Dec. 15, calmly sank a pair of freebies to even the score at 63-63.
Jarryd Loyd missed a three-pointer with 32 seconds left, giving Blount the chance to win the game in the closing seconds.
Blount tallied a game-high 19 points and added three rebounds and a pair of assists, while hitting 6 of 11 shots from the field to lead Loyola. Andy Polka netted 11 points and chipped in six rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals. Cerasoli contributed 10 points, three boards and three steals off the bench.
Brandon McPherson led Valparaiso with 13 points.
Loyola is back in action when it hosts Youngstown State on Thursday, Jan. 31.