Williamson scores 15 to lead No. 22 Loyola
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Luke Williamson made five 3-pointers and scored 15 points, and No. 22 Loyola won its 10th straight game, routing Evansville 77-48 on Tuesday night.
Chris Knight added 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting for the Ramblers (14-2, 5-0 Missouri Valley Conference), who are off to their best start in league play since joining the MVC for the 2013-14 season.
“I thought our energy, our emotion, and our fight was pretty solid throughout tonight,” Loyola coach Drew Valentine said. “Our defense looked like Loyola tonight. We executed our game plan pretty well and made it tough on them.”
Loyola, which entered the AP Top 25 on Monday for the first time this season, shot 27 of 43 from the field (62.8%) and 10 of 17 from 3-point range (58.8%), its best of the season in each category.
“My teammates put me in good positions for wide-open shots,” said Williamson, who was 5 of 8 from 3-point range and did not attempt a 2. “It always makes you feel good when they go down.”
Jawaun Newton scored 13 points, Shamar Givance had 12 and Noah Frederking had 11 for Evansville (4-12, 0-5).
The Aces hung with the Ramblers early, tying the game at 22 with 6:22 left in the first half. Loyola led 30-24 at halftime.
Loyola poured it on in the second half, outscoring Evansville 47-24. For the game, Loyola had a 35-6 advantage in bench scoring, and it held Evansville to 32.7% shooting.
“We played some good basketball, but we have not been able to do it consistently,” Evansville coach Todd Lickliter said. “We need to take away the positives and concentrate on putting together longer stretches of good basketball.”
The Ramblers have won their last six games against the Aces, who still lead the all-time series 28-26.
Loyola: The Ramblers had rallied from double-digit deficits in each of their previous three games. They trailed the Aces 6-0 when Evansville opened with two quick 3-pointers, but that was their largest deficit. Valentine is the youngest head coach in Division I. He took over this season for Porter Moser, who left to take the Oklahoma job.
Evansville: The Aces have been competitive in two of their MVC losses, to Drake and Northern Iowa.
Before last season, the Ramblers had not been ranked in the AP Top 25 since 1984-85. That includes the 2017-18 season, when they were unranked entering the NCAA Tournament and reached the Final Four.
Loyola: Hosts Missouri State on Saturday.
Evansville: At Illinois State on Friday.