Dec. 1, 2012
CHICAGO - Loyola University Chicago (6-2) used a 20-0 run early in the second half to take control of the contest as it rolled to a 77-50 victory over visiting Furman (2-5) this afternoon at Gentile Arena for its fourth consecutive win. The Ramblers forced the Paladins into 20 turnovers, and also matched a season high with 11 three-point field goals. Last season, Loyola didn't collect its sixth win until February 11.
"A lot of the credit goes to my assistant coaches because at the half they said we were fine," Loyola head coach Porter Moser said. "We were getting good shots, we just weren't knocking them down. We weathered a bad shooting effort in the first half, but I thought we had some really good stretches defensively."
Loyola opened the game with a flourish, as six different players scored as part of a game-opening 14-2 blitz. Furman countered by closing out the half on a 25-15 run of its own to close within 29-27 at the half. Senior Jordan Hicks was a catalyst for Loyola, scoring 10 of his 12 points on the day in the opening 20 minutes. After starting the contest by hitting 5 of their first 8 shots from the field, the Ramblers connected on just 5 of their final 24 to close the period.
Stephen Croone opened the second half by converting a layup off a Loyola turnover to even the score a 29, but Ben Averkamp's jumper at the 19:19 mark of the period began a string of 20 answered points for the Ramblers as they seized control with a 49-29 lead and never looked back.
Averkamp scored six of his 10 points during that decisive stretch and back-to-back three-pointers by Devon Turk and Matt O'Leary were followed by a Nick Osborne dunk off a feed from Joe Crisman to cap the run.
The first of three consecutive three-pointers by Turk gave Loyola is largest lead of the day, at 62-34 with 7:55 remaining, and Furman would get no closer than 19 the remainder of the way.
Turk led Loyola with a career-high 19 points, hitting 5 of 7 shots from beyond the arc and is now shooting 50 percent (15 for 30) from three-point range this season.
"Devon has a quick, confident trigger," Moser said. "He's been pretty consistent. We're just trying to get him more aggressive off the dribble."
Hicks added 12 points as he reached double digits for the second straight game, while Averkamp shook off a slow start to finish with 10 points and seven rebounds in only 25 minutes. Cully Payne matched a career high with nine assists and 10 of the 11 Ramblers to see action in the game scored.
Charlie Reddick scored a team-best 12 points, nine of which came in the first half, to lead Furman, which shot just 36 percent (19 for 53) from the field.
The Ramblers are back in action when they visit No. 13 Michigan State next Saturday (Dec. 8).