Loyola Hosts UIC To Kick Off Homestand




Dec. 5, 2013

UIC (3-5) at Loyola (3-5)
Date & Time Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 | 3 p.m.
Location Chicago, Ill. | Gentile Arena
Coverage Comcast SportsNet Chicago | Live Audio | Game Tracker | ESPN3 
Additional Information Twitter | Facebook | Loyola Game Notes | UIC Game Notes

Storylines
- After a grueling stretch in which it played six of its first eight games away from home, Loyola opens up a three-game homestand this afternoon when it welcomes UIC to Gentile Arena
- The Ramblers are coming off a narrow, 65-64 (OT) loss at Mississippi State last Sunday in Starkville, Miss. Milton Doyle led the Ramblers with 22 points in that game, his third game with at least 20 points this season
- A charter member of the Horizon League (34 seasons), Loyola is in its first season in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Ramblers moved to The Valley on July 1, 2013
- Today is the 51st meeting between the two Chicago schools, the last 42 of which came when both schools were members of the Horizon League. The last non-conference game between the schools was a 104-90 UIC victory on Jan. 3, 1994
- After tying as the sixth-youngest team in NCAA Division I last season, Loyola has another youthful group in 2013-14. Moser's 16-player squad has a combined 17 years of NCAA Division I experience and the roster features just three scholarship upperclassmen - graduate student Tony Nixon and juniors Joe Crisman and Christian Thomas
- Loyola is hoping for another strong December to propel it into the start of conference play. The Ramblers have won eight of their last 11 (.727) non-conference games in the calendar year's final month with the only setbacks to BCS schools Mississippi State (12/1/13), Michigan State (12/8/12) and DePaul (12/7/11)

Loyola/UIC - The Series
This afternoon is the 51st meeting between the two schools, separated by just 12 miles, with UIC holding a 31-19 lead in the all-time series. However, Loyola has had the better of it at home, winning 14 of its 26 home games (14-12, .538), including each of the last four, and the Ramblers have won six of the last eight meetings overall. The teams split their two Horizon League meetings last season, with the Ramblers riding 23 points and 11 rebounds from Christian Thomas to a 69-60 win here on Feb. 16.

Paradise Regained For Milton
Redshirt freshman Milton Doyle has made an immediate impact in his first season on the floor at Loyola. A transfer from the University of Kansas, Doyle poured in 18 points in Loyola's season-opening win over Milwaukee, the most by a Rambler freshman in his first game since Majak Kou scored 18 at DePaul in 2003. In addition, his 24 points against Rockhurst were the most by a LU freshman since J.R. Blount (24 vs. Bradley, Nov. 30, 2005). Like most rookies, Doyle has had some ups-and-downs but is coming off a terrific 22-point performance last time out at Mississippi State

The Spirit Of St. Louis
One of the region's most improved players last season, junior Christian Thomas has picked up right where he left off. The St. Louis native has scored in double figures in all eight Loyola games this season and has reached double digits in 24 straight contests, the longest such streak by a Rambler since Javan Goodman's 24-game streak in 1997-98. Thomas was terrific against the Flames last season, averaging 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while shooting 65% (13 for 20) from the floor in the two meetings, highlighted by a 23-point, 11-rebound performance in LU's win here

Ramblers Burning Down Plenty Of Barns With All These Close Games
One of the themes of Loyola's season through eight games has been the prevalence of close games. In fact, seven of Loyola's eight contests this season have been decided by six points or less - including a pair of overtime games - and its last four games have determined by a grand total of nine points. Furthermore, both of Loyola's last two games were decided by a single point, the first time the Ramblers have played back-to-back, one-point games since Dec., 1978 (89-88 win over Northern Illinois, 60-59 loss to Toledo)

Sophomore Standout
One key this season in the early going for the Ramblers has been the continued development of sophomore point guard Jeff White. White showed flashes of his potential down the stretch last season, averaging 7.7 points and 5.0 assists per game while starting each of Loyola's final seven games, and has been even better so far this year. He opened the 2013-14 campaign with a career-high 23 points (11-11 FTs) in the win over Milwaukee and has scored in double figures in six of the Ramblers' eight games. Not only is White scoring, he's scoring efficiently as he is shooting 56% from the floor, 40% from behind the arc (4 for 10) and a sterling 87% from the free throw line

Joy At Gentile
After playing just two of its first eight games in the cozy confines of Gentile Arena, today begins a three-game, pre-Christmas homestand for the Ramblers. That bodes well for the Ramblers, as they have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success at Gentile lately, going 24-4 (.857) in their last 28 home, non-conference games. In addition, Loyola is averaging 73.1 points per game and shooting just over 50% in its last nine home contests dating back to last year and has been even better this season, posting 79.5 ppg on 53% shooting in its two home games this season (2-0 record)