Senior guard Matt Lynch scored nine of his game-best 18 points in the fourth quarter Tuesday, and the Loyola boys basketball team snapped its three-game losing streak with a 56-40 win at home over Providence-St. Mel in the Catholic North opener for both teams.
Lynch converted a 3-point play in the first 15 seconds of the final quarter to put the Ramblers (3-3, 1-1) ahead 40-25, and they led by no fewer than nine points in the fourth.
“We wanted to send a message,” Lynch said. “We wanted to finish them off, to let them know it was over.”
Lynch, who recently committed to St. Norbert College, had six rebounds, four steals and three assists. He went 7-for-9 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line.
“His offense has been really good,” Loyola head coach Tom Livatino said. “He’s limiting his turnovers and shooting it well. He’s a long way from a finished product. There is room for growth.”
The Ramblers scored the first 13 points of the game and led 19-15 at the half. They pulled away from the Knights (0-3, 0-1) early in the second half. A key sequence came midway through the third quarter when Lynch grabbed a rebound, dribbled up court, passed the ball to senior guard Jack Martinus who passed it to junior guard Kevin Cunningham for a 3-pointer and a 32-20 lead.
Loyola entered the fourth up 37-25. The Ramblers made all 11 of their free throws in the final eight minutes. Senior guard Ramar Evans went 6-for-6 from the line in the fourth. He finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
“Providence-St. Mel plays hard, and they have some size,” Livatino said. “We’ve played against a lot of size this year, and it’s hurt us at times. It also was good for us to go through that kind of pressure. We found our way. We closed out the game in the right way.”
Cunningham added 11 points, four rebounds and three steals.
Loyola plays at DePaul Prep on Friday. The Rams, led by 6-foot-4 sophomore guard Perry Cowan, are 1-0 in conference play.
“I love our schedule and the Catholic League,” Livatino said. “It’s a meat grinder, and it’s a bear. But it’s what gets you better.”