Loyola-Chicago (6-9) at Illinois State (8-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 11, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Redbird Arena (10,200) -- Normal, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: Loyola Chicago 5-2, Illinois State 5-2. Away Record: Loyola Chicago 0-6, Illinois State 2-4. Neutral Record: Loyola Chicago 1-1, Illinois State 1-1. Conference Record: Loyola Chicago 1-2, Illinois State 1-2. Series Record: Illinois State leads, 7-3.
GAME NOTES: Loyola-Chicago's first season in the Missouri Valley Conference has not gotten off to a great start, and things stay tough Saturday when the Ramblers travel to Illinois State to take on the Redbirds.
Following a blowout win over Missouri State on Sunday, Loyola was poised to post back-to-back wins on Wednesday but dropped a 71-67 decision to Southern Illinois, which scored the final six points to pull out the win. Milton Doyle, who finished with 17 points, had a chance to send the game into overtime but missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with one second remaining.
Loyola was saddled with 17 turnovers, eight of which were attributed to Doyle, who still leads the team with 14.6 ppg. Christian Thomas, who sits at 14.5 ppg, recorded his third double-double of the season, leading the Ramblers with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Devon Turk provided 15 points -- all on 3- pointers -- in the setback.
The Redbirds are coming off a 66-47 defeat at the hands of No. 6 Wichita State. Illinois State never led, committed 15 turnovers and only had one player score in double figures, as Bobby Hunter totaled 11 points off the bench. The point total was the lowest on the season for the Redbirds, but that was to be expected against a national power like Wichita State.
Illinois State is averaging 70.3 ppg, led by Daishon Knight's 13.6 ppg average. Zach Lofton is chipping in with 11.5 ppg, thanks mostly to his 85.2 percent effort at the free-throw line, and Hunter rounds out the double-digit scorers at 10.1. Lofton has made a mere 29.2 percent of his field goals and 26.5 percent beyond the arc, and Knight has had his troubles from the field with only 36.9 percent shooting. Granted, his 34.2 percent out on the perimeter is much better than Lofton's, but still the team as a whole comes in at only 33.1 percent from the outside.
Loyola's Porter Moser was the head coach at Illinois State from 2003-07. These instate and now conference rivals have met 10 times previously, with Illinois State winning seven of those matchups. Loyola's only road win against Illinois State came on Jan. 21, 1991, and unless the Ramblers can figure out how to close games, that streak will likely continue.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois State 80, Loyola Chicago 75
01/11 10:35:49 ET
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