Strong First Half Propels Loyola Past Valpo
Saturday, December 7, 2002
Chicago, Ill. - Three Crusaders scored in double-figures, but Valpo lost to host Loyola 80-62 Saturday afternoon. Raitis Grafs led Valpo (2-3) with 14 points and nine rebounds. Loyola placed four players in double-figures, led by Paul McMillan with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Vasilis Tsimpliaridis came off the bench to score 19 points for the Ramblers, while David Bailey added 16 points and nine assists, and Demetrius Williams had 14 points and eight boards.

Stalin Ortiz scored 12 points and dished out a team-high four assists for the Crusaders, while Greg Tonagel contributed 10 points and three assists. Valpo was hurt by 19 turnovers, which led to 22 Loyola points.

Loyola (3-2) raced out of the gate quickly, earning a 6-0 lead in the first two minutes. Following an Ortiz three-point play after being fouled on a layup, the Ramblers went on a 9-0 run. Bailey, who had 12 points and five assists by halftime, drained two, 3-pointers during the run to increase Loyola's lead to 15-3 with 15:48 left in the first half.

After Tonagel made a layup to cut Loyola's lead to 17-10, McMillan made three straight baskets to push the advantage to 23-10 with 11:31 remaining. Tsimpliaridis hit two of his five, 3-pointers and scored 10 points in the final nine minutes of the half as Loyola led by as many as 18 points (44-26) before leading 44-28 at halftime.

Two more treys by Tsimpliaridis ignited a 14-8 Loyola run as the Ramblers led 58-36 with just under 15 minutes remaining. Kikas Gomes scored four points and Tonagel added three during a 16-5 Valpo run that reduced the deficit to 63-52 with 8:29 left. However, the Crusaders could get no closer as Loyola responded with five straight points by Williams to expand its lead to 68-52 at seven-minute mark.

Valpo finished shooting 39 percent (22-57) overall, including 12 percent (3-26) from 3-point range. Loyola, which shot 58 percent (18-31) in the first half, finished shooting 51 percent (31-61). The Ramblers hit eight of 19 from 3-point territory. Each team grabbed 38 rebounds. Ortiz picked off four steals, while Grafs had three.

The Crusaders conclude a three-game road stretch on Wednesday at Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 7:05 p.m.