March 2, 2013
CHICAGO - Jordan Hicks scored a career-high 26 points, hitting 11 of 15 shots from the field, and pulled down seven rebounds to lead Loyola University Chicago (15-15, 5-11 Horizon) to an 87-60 victory over Cleveland State (14-17, 5-11 Horizon) at Gentile Arena this afternoon in the regular-season finale for both teams. With the win, Loyola earns the No. 7 seed in the 2013 Horizon League Championship, which begins Tuesday night (March 5).
"You couldn't put together a better script for Jordan Hicks than the way today played out," Loyola head coach Porter Moser said. "And for Ben (Averkamp), I'm happy that his last moment wasn't the concussion, but that he got to play and got a win on Senior Night."
Loyola scored the first six points of the game and a dunk by Christian Thomas forced the Vikings to burn a timeout nearly three minutes into the game. Following a bucket by Bryn Forbes, the Ramblers rattled off eight consecutive points as four different players scored, to extend the lead to 14-2.
The Ramblers, who shot 58 percent (14 for 24) from the field in the opening period, led by as many as 15 points (34-19) in the half and held a 37-26 advantage at the break.
An emphatic dunk by Nick Osborne and ensuing three-pointer by Devon Turk to open the second half stretched the Ramblers' lead to 42-26. From that point on, Hicks took over the game as he closed out his career at Gentile Arena in fine fashion.
Relegated to the bench for most of the final five and a half minutes after picking up his second foul, Hicks was a beast in the second period, scoring 22 of his career-best 26 points, including 10 straight during a two-minute stretch late in the game.
Hicks' effort bettered his previous career high of 23 points set in Loyola's victory at then No. 15 Butler on February 15, 2009. Today, he scored his 26 points in only 27 minutes of action, on an emotional day for the 6-foot-6, fifth-year senior. Hicks has battled numerous injuries that have cut short three of his seasons at Loyola and his mother, who is battling cancer, was in attendance for today's Senior Day festivities.
Loyola's 87 points are the most scored in a regulation contest since hanging 89 points on Canisius on November 17, 2009. The Ramblers' finish in the Horizon League standings (tied-7th) is the best since the 2006-07 campaign.
In addition to Hicks' incredible performance, Loyola, which shot 59.6 percent (31 for 52) for the game, also received 19 points from Thomas and 13 points and six assists from Jeff White.
Forbes led Cleveland State with 15 points.
Loyola will be the No. 7 seed in the opening round of the Horizon League Championship and travels to No. 6 Youngstown State Tuesday night (March 5).