CHICAGO – Loyola used an 8-0 run over a key three-minute stretch late in the second half to hand Missouri State a 62-58 setback in Missouri Valley Conference play here Saturday evening.
The visiting Bears (6-7, 1-1 MVC) led or were tied for more than 31 minutes in the contest. However, after a hook shot by Gaige Prim with just over six minutes left gave Missouri State a 47-43 lead, MSU went nearly four minutes without another bucket while the Ramblers moved ahead with the decisive run.
Still, MSU would get within two points of the lead twice down the stretch, and could have had an opportunity to shoot for the tie in the final 30 seconds. A 3-pointer by Ford Cooper Jr. with 32 seconds to go made it a 57-54 game. The Bears then trapped on the ensuing in-bound play, but Loyola got the call and went back to the line for two free throws. When Keith Clemons missed both shots, the rebound was tipped around and fell into the hands of the Ramblers (10-5, 2-0) who ultimately got back to the line and made the next set of foul shots to take a 59-54 lead with 21 ticks to play.
Prim led the Bears with 14 points off the bench, going 6-of-11 from the field with three blocks. Isiaih Mosley added 12 points for his fourth straight double-figure scoring game, and Keandre Cook added 10 points.
Missouri State made a season-high nine 3-pointers with West, Tyrik Dixon and Cook scoring two apiece. West extended his streak to 12 straight contests with a 3-pointer.
Overall, the Bears were 22-of-51 (.431) from the field and made 5-of-6 (.833) at the foul line with a 34-25 rebounding advantage.
Loyola capitalized on 19 Missouri State turnovers, turning those into 13 points on the other end. The Ramblers shot 22-of-58 (.458) from the field, 2-of-10 (.200) from bonus distance and 16-of-26 (.615) on its ample chances at the free throw line.
Cameron Krutwig, the Valley Preseason Player of the Year, scored a game-high 23 points to lead Loyola’s efforts. He made 9-of-18 shots overall with 7 rebounds. Marquise Kennedy added 13 points off the bench for the home side, while Lucas Williams scored 12.
In the first half, Missouri State used the momentum of an 18-5 run over a seven-minute stretch to lead by as many 10 on two occasions and ultimately took a 30-27 lead into the intermission.
Krutwig scored eight of LUC’s first 11 points to push the Ramblers ahead 11-8 out of the gates before the Bears took flight. A 3-pointer by West gave the Bears a 26-16 advantage with 7:53 to go in the period. Later, it was Cook’s baseline drive with 4:46 remaining in the stanza that extended the MSU lead to 28-18.
Loyola ended the first half on a 9-2 outburst of its own to climb back in the game with Kennedy contributing five Rambler tallies in that span.
The Bears wrap their two-game road swing Tuesday at Illinois State (7 p.m.) in Normal. Missouri State then returns to JQH Arena on Saturday, Jan. 11 to play Northern Iowa at 3 p.m