Nov. 12, 2012
CHICAGO - Loyola University Chicago (2-0) overcame a slow start and wound up shooting 61 percent (17 for 28) from the field in the second half to pull away from Rockhurst (0-2) for a 64-41 victory tonight at Gentile Arena. The Ramblers, who improved to 2-0, took five charges on the night.
"Sometimes when you get a lead, you get sloppy, but I thought our guys continued to defend," Loyola head coach Porter Moser said. "Even though we weren't as crisp as we would like to be on offense, we showed glimmers of hope. I'm really proud of the guys for continuing to defend even when things weren't going great for us offensively."
Both teams sputtered on offense in the game's opening 20 minutes as Loyola shot just 37 percent (10 for 27) from the field, while limiting Rockhurst to 24 percent (6 for 25) shooting. The Ramblers jumped out to a 14-2 lead through the first eight minutes and held the Hawks scoreless for a stretch of 6:14 before Rockhurst used an 11-2 run of its own to pull within 16-13.
Despite holding the NCAA Division II Hawks to 15 first half points, which was two shy of a Gentile Arena low for an opponent, Loyola led by only seven points at the half, 22-15.
Brandon McCann's jumper to open the second period brought the Hawks within five, but a bucket by Ben Averkamp sparked an 18-2 run, in which Averkamp scored six of the first nine Rambler points, as Loyola broke the game open and took a 40-19 lead with 14:10 left to play.
From there, Rockhurst never got closer than 17 points and Loyola would extend its lead to as many as 25 points on a pair of occasions.
Loyola is now 2-0 for the second time in the last three seasons and has won four straight home games versus non-conference opponents.
For the second straight game, Averkamp led Loyola in both scoring and rebounding, putting up 16 points and seven boards as he moved within 11 rebounds of becoming just the 19th player in school history to accumulate 1,000 points and 500 boards.
He received plenty of backing from his teammates as six others Ramblers totaled five or more points, with Jeff White (8 points, 5 assists, 0 turnovers), Matt O'Leary (8 points), Tanner Williams (8 points) and Christian Thomas (6 points, 6 boards) providing support.
David Wingerson totaled 10 points to lead Rockhurst.
The Ramblers hit the road for the first time this season to compete in the USF Invitational hosted by the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla., November 16-18. Western Michigan is Loyola's first opponent in the three-game tournament, as the two Midwestern rivals meet Friday (Nov. 16) at 5 p.m. Eastern.