PEORIA — Walt Lemon Jr. scored 16 points and Bradley’s defense held Loyola to 27 percent shooting, leading the Braves to a 55-38 victory on Saturday night.
Bradley (12-17, 7-9 Missouri Valley) managed just a 19-17 lead over Loyola (9-19, 4-12) at the break as tenacious defense controlled the pace.
The second half opened with the Ramblers’ shooting accuracy still stymied by Bradley’s defense, while the Braves raced to a 33-20 lead on a 14-3 run with 13:49 to play. The Bradley lead expanded to 20 points at 54-34 with 1:34 remaining.
Loyola made only one of its 18 shots from three-point range in its attempt to move out of the Missouri Valley cellar position.
Loyola, losers of four consecutive games, was led in scoring by Christian Thomas with nine points.