Defense Keys Loyola's 56-44 Victory At Bradley
Feb. 18, 2012
PEORIA, Ill. - Ben Averkamp recorded 19 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season and Loyola University Chicago (7-19) held host Bradley (7-22) to 33 percent shooting (15 for 45) in a 56-44 victory at Carver Arena tonight. The win is the Ramblers' fifth in a row versus non-conference competition and is their second straight win at Bradley.
"Our guys really bought into our game plan and were active defensively," Loyola Head Coach Porter Moser said. "I'm really happy for our guys. Our defense won us that game. We've been playing better and at this stage of the season, you hope your arrow is pointing up."
Both teams struggled at the offensive end of the floor in the first half in a back-and-forth battle. A basket by Jake Eastman with 11:28 remaining in the period gave the Braves a 14-10 lead before Loyola countered with six unanswered points. Jordan Hicks' jumper from the baseline gave the Ramblers a 16-14 edge before Bradley responded with six straight points of its own to reclaim the lead.
Loyola closed out the period by holding Bradley to one field goal and five total points in the final 6:29 and Averkamp's lay-up with 1:12 left in the half gave the Ramblers a 23-22 advantage at the break, just their sixth lead after the opening 20 minutes this season.
The Ramblers used a stifling defensive effort to hold the Braves without a three-point field goal in eight tries in the second half after they had knocked down 4 of 10 from beyond the arc in the opening period. Loyola forced 10 Bradley turnovers in the second half alone.
Hicks' lay-up at the 17:06 mark opened up a 10-0 Rambler run over the next two and a half minutes as Loyola built a 35-26 lead. Bradley wouldn't go away quietly and scored seven unanswered points to get within 35-33, but Averkamp's lay-up with 10:58 remaining ignited a 9-2 run that featured five points from Chim Kadima.
Bradley would get no closer than five points the rest of the way and the Ramblers would hold the Braves without a field goal for over seven minutes in the game's final 7:50.
In addition to his 19 points and 10 boards, Averkamp handed out five assists and had two blocks to lead Loyola, which played without Walt Gibler, the team's second-leading scorer. Joe Crisman added 10 points for the Ramblers, who also got eight points apiece from Hicks, Kadima and Christian Thomas.
Jalen Crawford scored 12 points to lead Bradley.
Loyola plays its final road game of the regular season Tuesday night (Feb. 21) when it visits Horizon League leader Valparaiso.