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Loyola’s improved shooting leads to 79-69 win over Illinois State

Updated: February 9, 2014 8:39PM

Loyola’s players knew a victory for their coach against his former Illinois State team would be special.

But Porter Moser insisted he was happier with how much better his team played against the Redbirds three days after a sloppy loss to Bradley.

‘‘I’m more happy because I thought they played well against a very good team,’’ Moser said after the Ramblers’ 79-69 victory at the Gentile Arena. ‘‘We just didn’t play the right way against Bradley.’’

The Ramblers had their worst shooting performance and committed 18 turnovers against the Braves. They were even worse Jan. 11 in their first meeting against Illinois State with a season-high 19 turnovers.

‘‘It was a point of emphasis,’’ said junior Joe Crisman (career-high 17 points), one of four Ramblers in double figures. ‘‘We thought we let them take us out of our game at their place.

‘‘We didn’t give them the ball, so we had more shots.’’

The difference was apparent immediately. The Ramblers took a 15-5 lead with five assists and no turnovers in the first four minutes.

‘‘The guards did a good job of getting the ball in low,’’ said sophomore forward Nick Osborne, who had a career-high 14 points with nine rebounds. ‘‘This was a real good win. I hope it’s the start of a nice run for us.’’

Junior Christian Thomas (17 points) and freshman Milton Doyle (14) also were in double figures as the Ramblers shot 55 percent.

Illinois State freshman Paris Lee of Maywood led his team with 14 points.

‘‘I thought they were terrific,’’ Redbirds coach Dan Muller said of the Ramblers, who dominated on the glass (37-23) and held ISU to 27 percent shooting in the first half.

“They came ready to play, and we didn’t respond. They were whipping us on the glass from the first timeout. We had a few guys under the weather, but [Loyola] came out like a team that just came off a tough loss.’’

Loyola has yet to win a conference road game. Four of its last six games are on the road.

“We have to take it one game at a time and build on this,’’ said Moser, who coached at Illinois State from 2003 to ’07. “There’s no time to start a run like now.’’


Twitter: @toniginnetti

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