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Pendelton’s late layup leads SIU to 71-67 win over Loyola

Updated: January 9, 2014 12:29AM

Loyola coach Porter Moser was wary about his team’s game Wednesday against Southern Illinois, which came on the heels of the Ramblers’ 32-point win Sunday against Missouri State.

“We’ve been on both sides of those [blowouts],’’ he said. “We know we’re not 32 points better than Missouri State.’’

Southern Illinois was dealing with its own concerns, suffering a loss Saturday at Illinois State, then getting stranded on Interstate 57 in the snowstorm that night.

By the time they reached Chicago late Tuesday — forced to travel by bus again when weather canceled Amtrak service from Carbondale — the Salukis were ready to deal with basketball.

They rebounded in dramatic fashion, taking a 71-67 victory in the final five seconds on Jalen Pendelton’s layup as SIU fans cheered in the Gentile Arena.

The outcome wasn’t decided until one second remained and Ramblers freshman Milton Doyle went to the line for two free throws that could have tied the game.

But he missed both, giving the Salukis their first road victory of the season and ending a tumultuous five days for the team.

“We’ve had a gamut of emotions over the last few days, and I’m really happy for those guys,’’ said coach Barry Hinson, whose own travails include the sudden death of his son-in-law on Christmas. “We needed this, and selfishly, I really needed this. We kept saying in the timeouts to go out and earn it. They earned it.’’

Senior guard Desmar Jackson led all scorers with 31 points, his last two on free throws with less than one second left as the Ramblers (6-9, 1-2 Missouri Valley) tried for a desperation ending by fouling.

Freshman Sean O’Brien had 12 rebounds for the Salukis (5-11, 1-2).

The Ramblers were led by junior Christian Thomas’ 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Loyola sophomore Devon Turk came off the bench to score 15 points. Doyle added 17 but also had eight of the Ramblers’ 17 turnovers — nine in the second half.

The Salukis scored 18 points off turnovers and another 18 in transition.

“That’s the story line of the game,’’ Moser said. “Desmar Jackson was a great story line. He had a big-time game. He made the big shot and the big pass.’’

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