Feb. 19, 2014
CHICAGO - No. 3 Wichita State used a 13-4 run to start the second half to open a double-digit lead and withstood each Loyola rally in an 88-74 win over the Ramblers in front of 4,577 tonight at Gentile Arena. The Shockers remain unbeaten at 28-0 (15-0 Valley) while Loyola slips to 9-18 (4-11) with the loss.
A three-point field goal from Ron Baker and a three-point play from Cleanthony Early staked Wichita State to the early lead. Loyola's deficit fluctuated between five and nine through the middle stages of the half before the Shockers opened up an 11-point lead on two Fred VanVleet free throws with 4:14 left. Loyola began to chip away from there and the hosts were finally able to string together a couple of stops to claw back into the game. A three-point play from Jeff White made it a 35-29 game and the Ramblers got within five moments later before heading to the locker room down just seven, 39-32. Loyola shot 42% in the period while WSU hit at a 50% clip.
Wichita State's superior size helped key the decisive, half-opening run as back-to-back three-point plays from Chadrick Lufile helped the visitors open a 52-36 lead with just over four minutes elapsed. The Ramblers would not go away, and a three-pointer from White and a traditional three-point play from Milton Doyle pulled them within 10 (63-53) with 7:09 left. Two free throws from Baker helped Wichita State maintain a double-digit lead and Loyola would get no closer than 10 the rest of the way.
Loyola shot 50% in the second half to finish a 46% for the game, more than respectable against a Shockers defense that holds opponents to under 40% for the season. However, Wichita State enjoyed a 41-24 edge on the glass, which partially led to a 31-11 advantage from the free throw line.
Doyle finished with 18 points, five rebounds and three steals to pace the Ramblers. He was joined in double figures by White (14 points), Devon Turk (13) and Christian Thomas (12). VanVleet was outstanding for Wichita State, finishing 6-for-6 from the floor and 10-for-10 from the line en route to a game-high 22 points. The Rockford native also added eight rebounds and six assists.
Loyola hits the road for a Saturday night game (7 p.m.) at Bradley.