Lucas Williamson scored 15 points and Chris Knight came off the bench to add 12 Tuesday night as No. 22 Loyola Chicago cruised to a 77-48 win over Evansville in Evansville, Ind.
Playing their first game as a ranked team this season, the Ramblers (14-2, 5-0 Missouri Valley Conference) used their typical consistency and efficiency to dominate after a slow start. They canned 62.3 percent of their field goal attempts while holding the Purple Aces to 32.7 percent shooting.
Juwaun Newton scored 13 points to pace Evansville (4-12, 0-5), while Shamar Givance added 12 and Noah Frederking chipped in 11. The Aces were competitive for a half, but were ultimately undone by Loyola's 35-6 advantage in bench scoring and 32-12 lead in paint points.
Leading 30-24 at halftime, the Ramblers gradually pulled away in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Tate Hall's 3-pointer with 14:02 left in the game pushed the margin to 43-31, starting a game-sealing 11-0 burst.
Williamson and Keith Clemons added 3-pointers to up the advantage to 51-31 with 11:37 remaining. The game's remainder was a race to the final horn that secured Loyola's 10th consecutive win since a Thanksgiving Day loss to Auburn in a tournament in the Bahamas.
Coming off a 32-point loss in its last game on Jan. 12 at Bradley, Evansville came out playing its best basketball. It scored on its first four possessions and took a 13-8 lead to the first TV timeout after Evan Kuhlman drained a 3-pointer.
The Aces managed just 11 points for the half's remainder as the Ramblers locked down on defense, contesting 3-pointers and easily stopping most forays to the goal. They took the lead for good on a 3-point play by Marquise Kennedy with 12:06 left in the half, making it 16-15.
Evansville's defense kept it in the game through the half, though, as Loyola managed just eight points over the final 8:58. But Williamson drilled a long 3-pointer 1:23 before intermission, giving the Ramblers a 30-24 edge at the break.
--Field Level Media