Loyola-Chicago (2-4) vs. SIU Edwardsville (1-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 24, 3 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stott Center (1,500) -- Portland, Oregon. Television: None. Home Record: Loyola 2-0, SIUE 1-1. Away Record: Loyola 0-3, SIUE 0-2. Neutral Record: Loyola 0-1, SIUE 0-1. Conference Record: Loyola 0-0, SIUE 0-0. Series Record: Loyola-Chicago leads, 4-0.
GAME NOTES: The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers and SIU Edwardsville Cougars square off at the Stott Center on Sunday afternoon, as the Portland State Tournament comes to a close.
While Loyola has won both of its home contests this season, it has dropped all of its road and neutral-court battles, including both matchups in this event to Portland State (67-63) and UC Davis (64-61 in OT) to dip to 2-4 overall. The Ramblers were able to overcome a 10-point second-half deficit to UC Davis on Saturday and held a three-point lead with time winding down in regulation, but it fell victim to a last-second, game-tying 3-pointer that sent the game to overtime, where they were again bested by a long-distance bucket in the final minute as they dropped a heartbreaker. The team shot a low 35.7 percent from the field in the setback, with Devon Turk leading the effort with 17 points off the bench. Christian Thomas added 14 points, and Jeff White chipped in with 11.
SIUE has also gotten off to a poor start this season at 1-4, and just like Loyola, it dropped each of its first two contests in this event, losing to UC Davis on Friday night (80-75) before falling to Portland State on Saturday (77-74). The Cougars appeared in line for a win against the host squad, as they held a 10-point advantage at intermission, but they came unraveled in the second half by shooting just 1-of-10 from 3-point range, as they lost the three-point heartbreaker. A strong overall shooting night (.528) went to waste thanks to 13 turnovers. Tim Johnson paced the effort with 17 points, while Donivine Stewart was hot on his heels with 16 points and five assists. Keaton Jackson (11 points) was solid off the bench in the setback.
These intrastate rivals have met only four times previously, and Loyola has come out victorious every time, most recently in December of 2010 (78-50).
The Ramblers have been stifled on offense in the early going, scoring a modest 68.5 points per game, but luckily they are saved by a strong effort at the defensive end where they hold opponents to just 67.8 points per outing. Milton Doyle is shooting less than 39 percent from the floor, but he generates enough volume to lead the team in scoring with 15.5 points per game. Thomas (14.0 ppg) has been much more efficient with his shot selection (.556), and he also rips down a team-best 7.0 rebounds per tilt. White (13.7 ppg) rounds out the double-digit scorers for Loyola.
The reason for SIUE's slow start hasn't been due to its offensive production -- it shoots greater than 47 percent from the field for 74.4 points per game -- but rather its showing at the defensive end where it allows a lofty 86.2 points per game. Johnson (13.0 ppg) is off to a stellar start, as he is draining greater than 64 percent of his field goal attempts. Stewart (12.6 ppg) gets his teammates involved by handing out 4.0 assists per contest.
Neither team has performed well of late, but something has to give. Loyola has at least been competitive in its losses, and against a porous SIUE defense, figure for the Ramblers to break free of its losing ways.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Loyola-Chicago 78, SIU Edwardsville 67
11/24 10:32:21 ET