CHICAGO (AP) — Keith Clemons scored 16 points, Cameron Krutwig added 13 and No. 22 Loyola Chicago made a defensive stop in the final seconds to hang on for a 54-52 victory over Valparaiso on Wednesday night.
The Ramblers (19-4, 14-2 Missouri Valley Conference) have won 12 of 13 and extended their home winning streak to 20 games. Loyola lost its previous game, 51-50, in overtime at Drake on Sunday.READ MORE: Dixmoor Boil Order Remains In Effect As Crews Continue Work To Identify Source Of Weeklong Water Woes
Zion Morgan had 15 points and Ben Krikke and Goodnews Kpegeol had 10 points apiece for Valparaiso (8-15, 5-9).
Loyola won the first meeting between the teams 75-39 on Jan. 20 at Valparaiso.
This was Valpo’s third game against a ranked opponent this season, and the Crusaders fell to 1-2 in those matchups. Valpo beat then-No. 25 Drake 74-57 on Feb. 7, a day after losing to the Bulldogs.
Lucas Williamson hit a 3-pointer with 3:33 remaining to give Loyola a 52-48 lead, its biggest to that point.
Krutwig hit a jump hook with 1:38 left to make it 54-48.
Kpegeol scored with 1:23 to play to trim the Valpo deficit to four, ending a scoreless stretch of 3:35.
Sheldon Edwards then came up with a steal and drove for a basket with 54.8 seconds remaining to make it 54-52.
Valpo got the ball back with 24.7 seconds to go after forcing a shot-clock violation. After two non-shooting fouls, Valpo inbounded the ball with 13.2 seconds left. Krikke missed a 16-footer and Kpegeol was called for a foul on the rebound with 1.1 seconds to go.READ MORE: CPD's 'Carve With A Cop' Brings Children, Officers Together
Loyola got off to a slow start offensively. The Ramblers went scoreless for more than seven minutes and made just three of their first 15 field-goal attempts, including 1 for 6 on 3-pointers.
Valpo took its biggest lead, 29-20, on a 3-pointer by Donovan Clay 3-pointer with 1:18 left. Loyola, though, ended the half with back-to-back 3s by Williamson and Aher Uguak to pull within 29-26 at halftime.
Valparaiso: The Crusaders are still looking for a breakthrough win. They have never beaten a ranked team on the road.
Loyola: Maintained first place in the conference heading into an eight-day break.
Valparaiso: At Southern Illinois for back-to-back games Sunday and Monday to complete a five-game road swing.
Loyola: Host Southern Illinois in back-to-back games on Feb. 26 and 27.MORE NEWS: Belmont Cragin Carjacking Leads To Fiery Crash, Multiple Other Parked Cars Struck
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