Arena Sportsnet

Ramblers Drop Decision to Ball State


Visiting Ball State (6-3) closed the game on an 8-1 run after Loyola University Chicago (5-4) had rallied from a 13-point deficit as the Cardinals pulled out a 75-69 victory at Gentile Arena tonight in front of 2,831 fans. The loss is the Ramblers’ third at home this season one year after going 14-1 at Gentile Arena.

Ball State got off to a sizzling start from the field, hitting 12 of its first 15 attempts and put together a 15-2 run that featured three three-pointers from Zach Gunn, to open up a 31-18 lead in the first half, its largest advantage of the period. Loyola answered that spurt with a run of its own, highlighted by seven points from Isaiah Bujdoso, who netted 10 points in the opening 20 minutes, to chop the deficit to 33-27.

The Cardinals followed with four straight tallies to push their lead back to double digits and took a 37-30 lead into the half. Loyola forced 11 BSU turnovers in the first half, but the Cardinals wound up knocking down 61.5 percent (16-for-26) of their field goal attempts.

After Ball State stretched its lead back to 10 points at the outset of the second half, Loyola used a mini 7-3 spurt capped by a three-pointer from Clayton Custer to get within 43-37 and minutes later another triple from Custer brought the Ramblers within three (55-52) with 10:22 left to play.

A pair of Aher Uguak free throws trimmed the Ramblers’ deficit even further, getting them within a single point, at 55-54, but Ball State had an answered for that Loyola run and rattled off six unanswered points of its own to seize a 61-54 edge.

Loyola grabbed its first lead since the early moments of the game thanks to a 7-0 run punctuated by a layup from Cameron Krutwig that moved the Ramblers ahead, 64-63, with 4:45 remaining. Ball State accounted for the next four points to reclaim the lead before two more Uguak free throws and a reverse layup from Custer allowed Loyola to surge back ahead, 68-67, with 2:48 left to play.

But Ball State finished the game strong, scoring eight of the contest’s final nine points, taking the lead for good on a conventional three-point play from Tahjai Teague with 1:50 remaining.

Loyola heads to the east coast this weekend to take on No. 23 Maryland in Baltimore December 8 at 3 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on BTN.

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