Resilient Ramblers Hold Off Cleveland State, 72-67
Feb. 25, 2013
Cleveland, Ohio - Simone Law scored a career-high 29 points and Loyola made a couple big plays down the stretch to snatch a 72-67 win over Cleveland State tonight at the Wolstein Center. The Ramblers improve to 13-13 (8-5 Horizon) and are riding their first six-game Horizon League winning streak since the 2001-02 season. Cleveland State slips to 12-15 (4-10) with the loss.
"I was really happy with how we competed and battled and found a way to win," said head coach Eric Simpson. "We were tired out there and we did not play with our normal energy level but Simone was outstanding, Taylor made a big shot and Abby Skube came in off the bench and really gave us a big lift."
Playing its third game in five days, Loyola rode the hot hand of Law in the early going. The game was close through the majority of the first half, with Loyola taking a 21-16 lead on a Skube three-pointer with just over eight minutes left. Loyola began to assert itself on the defensive end late in the first half, holding the Vikings without a field goal for 6:16 as the Ramblers extended to a 33-21 lead before an Honesty King three-pointer in the final minute made it a 33-24 game at halftime. Law had 13 points in the half while Skube came in and knocked down 3-of-4 shots for seven points.
Cleveland State scored the first five points of the second half before Law took over again, scoring LU's first 10 points of the period to bump the lead back to 10 (43-33) at the 14:50 mark. The visitors extended the lead to as many as 11 before Cleveland State made a push. Kiersten Green knocked down a three-pointer off a missed free throw to make it a four-point game and Cori Coleman capped an 11-2 run with a three-point play to make it a 58-57 game with 6:36 to go.
Ayrealle Beavers fed Troy Hambric for a hoop inside and Hambric had two more big baskets to keep the Ramblers in front. Two Coleman free throws finally pulled CSU even at 66 with 1:29 left but Johnson rebounded her own miss and scored while being fouled to put LU back on top with 63 seconds remaining. She missed the free throw but Cleveland State knocked the rebound out of bounds and Hambric hit Law for a lay-up to make it a two-possession game (70-66) with 48 seconds to play. Imani Gordon split two free throws on the ensuing possession for Cleveland State and Lyndsey Booker knocked down two key free throws to seal it.
Law was terrific, finishing 11-of-14 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the line en route to her 29 points. Johnson finished with 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals while Skube finished with 10 points and five boards off the bench.
Loyola wraps up a four-games-in-eight-day stretch on Thursday when it hosts Milwaukee at Gentile Arena. Tip time is set for 7 p.m.