Nov. 28, 2012
CHICAGO - Three players scored in double figures and Loyola University Chicago (5-2) survived a furious second-half rally to topple Tennessee Tech (3-2), 81-78, tonight at Gentile Arena. The win is the Ramblers' third in a row, their most since last December.
"We needed a close victory like that," Loyola head coach Porter Moser said. "We can take away the experience that we got in a pressure situation."
Jordan Hicks helped the Ramblers get off to a hot start, scoring 13 first half points, including 11 in the first 11:30 and his third three-pointer of the half gave Loyola a 26-22 lead.
After Tennessee Tech went ahead 29-28, Loyola used a 10-2 run to reclaim the lead, at 38-31, and took a 38-34 lead into the break.
Two quick baskets to open the second half drew Tennessee Tech even, but a three-point play by Ben Averkamp gave the Ramblers the lead for good at 41-38. A bucket by Jud Dillard sliced Loyola's lead down to a single point, but the hosts reeled off eight straight points, five from Averkamp and three from Cully Payne, as part of a 17-4 run that extended the Rambler advantage to 58-44 with 11:44 to play.
The Golden Eagles methodically chipped away at the Loyola lead and made things really interesting when Dennis Ogbe's three-pointer from the top of the key with 20 seconds remaining closed the gap to 78-75. Christian Thomas saw his string of consecutive free throws made snapped at 20 when he missed the front end of a two shot foul, but the sophomore calmly buried the second toss to put Loyola ahead by four.
Matt Marseille's three-pointer with nine seconds left made it 79-78 and after Joe Crisman drained a pair of free throws with six seconds showing on the clock, Tennessee Tech had one last attempt to send the game into overtime, but Lanerryl Johnson's three-pointer was tipped by Averkamp and the Eagles were unable to get another shot off as Loyola improved to 3-0 at home this season.
Payne scored a season-high 18 points, hitting 6 of 12 shots from the field, and added five assists and four steals to lead Loyola, which also received 16 points, four boards and four blocks form Averkamp, and 15 points and six rebounds from Hicks.
Marseille led Tennessee Tech with 21 points as Loyola, in particular Hicks and Crisman, did an admirable job of containing Dillard, who entered the contest averaging 23.2 points per game. Dillard finished with 14 points, but connected on only 5 of 13 shots from the field.
Loyola closes out a brief two-game homestand when it hosts Furman on Saturday, December 1 at 2 p.m.