There was no letdown for Loyola on Friday after winning a tournament title in Florida last week.
The Ramblers went on the road to Chicago and earned a 51-35 victory over De La Salle in the Catholic North. It was Loyola’s fifth win in a row and seventh in its last eight games.
“We wanted to keep building off of what we did in Florida,” Loyola senior guard Ramar Evans said. “We wanted to keep that same mentality. Any time you win in the Catholic League it’s big.”
Loyola (10-5, 3-1) broke open a close game with a 10-2 stretch midway through the third quarter. Senior forward Kris Lampley, senior guard Jimmy Alexopoulos, senior guard Jack Martinus and senior guard Matt Lynch all scored over an 87-second span to give the Ramblers a 33-22 lead.
De La Salle (8-5, 2-2) scored the first basket of the fourth quarter to leave the score 35-30, but Evans converted a 3-point play, senior forward Matt Sechman threw down a two-handed dunk in transition and junior guard Kevin Cunningham hit a 3-pointer to put Loyola ahead 43-32 with 6 minutes, 25 seconds remaining.
An Evans basket made it 45-32 at the 4:17 mark, and the Meteors never got closer than 12 the rest of the way.
“Defense is where we pride ourselves,” Evans said. “That’s what got us the lead. We got stops and started hitting our shots.”
Evans, who earned MVP honors at the Gulfshore Holiday Hoopfest, led all scorers with 16 points. He also had six rebounds and two assists. Cunningham finished with 11 points and one steal. Lynch had eight points, three rebounds, three assists and took two charges. Sechman contributed four points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two assists.
In Loyola’s last seven wins, the Ramblers have surrendered an average of 36.9 points a game. They remain tied for second in the conference after Fenwick beat Montini 92-45 to improve to 4-0.
“We have played decent basketball lately, especially on defense,” Loyola head coach Tom Livatino said. “This is a really good win on the road.”