Nov. 24, 2012
DeKALB, Ill. - Loyola University Chicago (4-2) used a stingy defense that held host Northern Illinois (1-3) to 30 percent (17 for 57) field goal shooting to earn a 53-46 victory over the Huskies this afternoon at the Convocation Center. Senior Ben Averkamp tallied 15 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the year as the Ramblers won their second straight.
"Any coach will take winning ugly over losing pretty," Loyola head coach Porter Moser said. "One of our goals was to make more free throws than Northern Illinois attempted and we accomplished that today. Joe's (Crisman) rebounding was key. He had 10 defensive rebounds and after we challenged him to crash the boards more, he has responded with 16 rebounds the last two games. That's what I love about Joe. If you challenge him, he accepts the challenge and responds."
The first half was a classic defensive struggle as both teams shot under 27 percent from the field and committed a combined 15 turnovers. Averkamp (10) and Christian Thomas (6) accounted for all 16 of the Ramblers' first-half points, but Loyola was held scoreless for the final 7:55 of the period after Thomas sank a pair of foul shots.
Despite that scoring drought, Loyola's six-point lead was only whittled down to 16-15 as the teams headed to the locker room to regroup at the half.
The scoring and pace of play picked up early in the second half and after Northern Illinois' Akeem Springs hit a three-pointer to open the period, Cully Payne hit a pair of threes in the opening three minutes, the second one giving Loyola the lead, at 25-23.
After the Huskies connected on a pair of free throws to tie the score, Thomas answered with a pair of foul shots of his own to kick off an 18-4 run as the Ramblers opened up a 43-29 lead with 7:19 to play.
Northern Illinois made things interesting late in the game, closing within eight points, but Crisman's running jumper with 2:17 left put the Ramblers back up by double digits (48-38). Loyola hit five of six shots from the charity stripe in the final 38 seconds to hold off NIU's late surge.
Averkamp added two assists, three steals and a block, while Payne contributed 10 points and Thomas and Jeff White added eight points apiece. Joe Crisman collected a career-best 10 rebounds and added six points.
Loyola returns home to open a brief two-game homestand Wednesday night (Nov. 28) when it faces Tennessee Tech.