Averkamp's Big Day and Buzzer Beater Lifts Loyola Past Toledo, 57-55
Dec. 10, 2011
TOLEDO, Ohio - Ben Averkamp scored a career-high 31 points and hit a baseline jumper from 15 feet at the buzzer as Loyola University Chicago (2-7), which dressed just six healthy scholarship players, rallied from a 14-point deficit to post a 57-55 victory over Toledo (6-3) at Savage Arena this afternoon. The win is the Ramblers' first on the road this season and comes without the services of Walt Gibler and Joe Crisman, two of the team's three top scorers.
"I'm so happy for our guys and our staff," Loyola Head Coach Porter Moser said. "All trip, we did not talk about those guys (Gibler and Crisman) being out. Everyone stepped up, made plays and did their job. I'm also so happy for Ben. He has put the weight of the world on his shoulders but today he just had fun and played hard. It was nice to see him smiling today."
The Ramblers trailed 42-28 with 16:47 remaining in the game, but once again slowly chipped away at a deficit and turned up the heat on the defensive end of the floor. Loyola held Toledo without a field goal for the final 6:08 of regulation and limited UT to 1 of 8 shooting from three-point range after it knocked down 6 of 12 from beyond the arc in the first half.
Julius Brown hit a pair of free throws with 35 seconds left to even the score at 55 and after Loyola wasn't able to convert a chance at a game-winning shot, the Rockets claimed possession with 1.2 seconds remaining. However, Matt Smith's in-bounds pass hit the overhead scoreboard at halfcourt, giving the Ramblers the ball underneath their own basket.
Denzel Brito in-bounded the ball to Averkamp, who released the ball with two-tenths of a second left, sending the Loyola bench into a frenzied celebration.
Loyola got out of the starting blocks with a bang, racing out to an early 17-9 lead as Averkamp scored nine of his 14 first-half points during that initial spurt. Toledo responded however, with 17 unanswered points to claim a 26-17 lead with 5:44 remaining in the period before Jonathon Gac split a pair of foul shots and Averkamp drained a three-pointer from the wing to snap the scoring drought. Averkamp's three at the 4:31 mark was the Ramblers' first field goal in nearly eight minutes.
Dominique Buckley drained a long three-pointer from the corner at the buzzer to send the Rockets into the break with momentum and a 33-25 lead.
Averkamp's 31 points are the most by a Rambler since Geoff McCammon tossed in 31 at DePaul last December. Christian Thomas chipped in nine points and grabbed a season-best 13 rebounds, while Chim Kadima added nine points. Bill Clark also gave the team a huge lift off the bench, playing 16 minutes and contributing three rebounds and a pair of assists, including perhaps the biggest set-up of the day, on Thomas' three-point play that gave Loyola the lead with 58 seconds left.
Loyola is off until December 17 when its hosts Chicago State.