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Loyola wins with blistering second half

Updated: January 3, 2013 11:00AM

Loyola’s starting five was a combined 7-for-22 in the first half Saturday against Furman, but coach Porter Moser’s staff told him not to worry.

‘‘My assistants said at halftime, ‘We’re fine. We’re getting good looks, just not knocking them down.’ It wasn’t panic time.’’

The Ramblers finished with a 77-50 victory at the Gentile Center, thanks to a blistering second half in which the Ramblers outscored the Paladins 49-23.It was the fourth consecutive victory for the Ramblers (6-2), and it marked the fifth time they held an opponent to 50 points or fewer.

‘‘We were getting decent looks in the first half but getting beat on ball screens,’’ senior Ben Averkamp said. ‘‘We did a better job on that, and you saw it in that 20-0 run.’’

That run covered almost nine minutes and came after the Paladins (2-5) tied the game 29-29 in the opening seconds of the second half.

The Ramblers scored 23 points off 20 Furman turnovers and had 14 fast-break points.

‘‘We got a lot of offense off our defense with steals and turnovers,’’ said junior guard Cully Payne, who had nine of the Ramblers’ 19 assists.

‘‘I feel like a brand new basketball player,’’ said Payne, who missed his last season at Iowa with an injury before sitting out last season as a transfer. ‘‘I had nine assists, but the way guys like [freshman Devon] Turk and Ben and [Jordan] Hicks can hit, I feel I’m going because of my teammates.’’

Hicks had 12 points — 10 in the first half — and Averkamp finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.

But Turk was the Ramblers’ leader with 19 points, 17 of them in the second half, when he went 5-for-7
on three-pointers.

‘‘He has a quick, confident trigger,’’ Moser said of the 6-4 freshman from Houston. ‘‘He’s learning when and where, and he’s been pretty consistent (15-for-30) so far. He’s a phenomenal shooter. We’re trying to get him to be more confident off the dribble. We tell him we want him to be a player, not just a shooter.’’

The Ramblers have a week off before playing at Michigan State.

‘‘You want to play teams like Michigan State because the only way you can see how you compare is by playing them,’’ Moser said.

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