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Loyola dissolves in second half of 55-49 loss to NIU

Northern Illinois trailed Loyola by 15 points early in the second half Wednesday, with more turnovers than field goals for most of the game. But the Huskies found their shooting touch — and the Ramblers frittered away theirs — in a lopsided final 20 minutes at the Gentile Arena.

‘‘Usually you don’t win a game in 20 minutes,’’ NIU coach Mark Montgomery said after his team’s 55-49 comeback win, its first on the road, and the first home loss for the Ramblers (5-6) as they ended their non-conference home schedule.

The score marked the lowest output for a Loyola team since a 53-46 victory against the Huskies on Nov.  24, 2012, in DeKalb.

‘‘This is the fourth game we’ve lost [big] leads in a second half,’’ coach Porter Moser said. ‘‘Our tentativeness against the zone was hard to watch. The concentration level, the leadership, the will to win in the second half for this team is lacking. We have to learn to take it home.’’

The Ramblers led 28-14 at intermission, shooting 50 percent (11-22) with only six turnovers. But they fell apart in the final 20 minutes, shooting only 23 percent with 10 turnovers.

‘‘It was a tale of two halves,’’ Montgomery said. ‘‘It seemed like we were sleepwalking the first half, but credit Loyola for that. It was ugly.’’

Junior guard Aaron Armstead scored all 12 of his points in the second half, including three three-pointers, to ignite the Huskies (4-5).

Loyola junior Christian Thomas led all scorers with 16 points, but he fouled out with two minutes left. Sophomore Jeff White had 14 points but only two in the second half.

Freshman Milton Doyle, who set a freshman scoring record with 32 points four days earlier, scored 10.



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