Loyola-Chicago (7-3) at Saint Peter's (5-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 22, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Yanitelli Center (3,200) -- Jersey City, New Jersey. Television: None. Home Record: Loyola 5-0, SPC 3-3. Away Record: Loyola 1-2, SPC 2-2. Neutral Record: Loyola 1-1, SPC 0-0. Conference Record: Loyola 0-0, SPC 1-1. Series Record: Series tied, 2-2.
GAME NOTES: The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers look to keep the ball rolling as they take on the Saint Peter's Peacocks in a non-conference tilt at the Yanitelli Center.
Porter Moser has turned things around from his debut season as the Ramblers' head coach where they finished with a 7-23 overall. Loyola came up with a big win last Saturday when it defeated Mississippi State by eight points at home to improve to a 7-3 record. The Ramblers' hot start to the season includes victories over Toledo and Tennessee Tech as well. Loyola is at its best in slower paced contests as it averages 64 points per game and limits its opponents to 58.4 ppg.
Saint Peter's earned its second win in three games on Wednesday by picking up an 80-67 victory over LIU Brooklyn. Coach John Dunne's squad enters Saturday with a 5-5 overall record The Peacocks ended a four-game losing slide with a surprising two-point decision over Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference rival Iona before losing to Loyola-Maryland to even their league record. SPC is also a low-scoring unit with a scoring offense of 62.9 ppg, but it has allowed its opposition to net 64.5 ppg.
Loyola and SPC are meeting for the fifth time in a series that dates back to 1958. The Peacocks earned a 71-67 victory in the last meeting at Gentile Arena on Feb. 19, 2011.
The Ramblers exhibited their superb defensive capabilities last time out by limiting Mississippi State to 37.5 percent shooting from the field, forcing 15 turnovers, and holding a 40-28 edge in the rebounding battle. Freshman guard Devon Turk and sophomore forward Christian Thomas gave a big lift to the offense while leading scorer Ben Averkamp went 1-of-9 from the floor. Turk came off the bench to pour in 21 points in 24 minutes of play and Thomas tallied 16 points and six boards. Averkamp, who is one of just two seniors on the roster, still carries team-best averages of 16.2 points, seven rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per outing. Turk is second on the team with his rising average of 8.6 ppg with a 52.4 percent accuracy rate on three-point attempts. Junior point guard Cully Payne is a steady floor general and deals out 4.7 assists per outing.
The Peacocks had one of their best offensive performances of the season versus LIU Brooklyn as they connected on 54.7 percent of their field goal attempts, including 5-of-11 from 3-point range. SPC also added 17 points at the charity stripe and held a 35-29 advantage on the glass. Sophomore guard Desi Washington lit up the scoreboard with 28 points. He is leading the team with 17.2 ppg and has accounted for over half of the team's makes from beyond the arc with 27 triples. Senior guards Blaise Ffrench and Yvon Raymond are steady contributors on the offensive end with respective 12.4 and 10.3 point per game averages.
With the Peacocks playing well as of late and holding the homecourt advantage, the records do not reflect how competitive of a matchup this will be. Loyola will be in serious trouble if Averkamp stays in a slump, especially if Washington carries over his success from Wednesday. The Ramblers have been impressive so far, but only time will tell if they can keep it up.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Peter's 67, Loyola-Chicago 62
12/22 10:30:54 ET