Kevin Cunningham had his best offensive game in two varsity seasons in Friday’s 58-42 win over Brother Rice at home.

In Loyola’s first Catholic Blue victory, the senior guard scored a career-high and efficient 27 points. Cunningham (pictured above) shot 6-for-11 from the field, including 3-for-7 from 3-point range. He was 12-for-12 on free throws.

Most importantly, Cunningham’s points came at critical times.

He got the Ramblers (7-2, 1-1) off to a strong start with three 3s in the first quarter. His four points at the end of third gave Loyola a 38-31 lead. Then, in the final quarter, he made 10 free throws.

Cunningham’s performance, which also included five rebounds, happened within the context of Loyola’s best most complete game of the season. A week earlier, the Ramblers played one of their worst games of the season in a 33-30 loss to St. Rita on the road.

“I’m really happy,” Loyola head coach Tom Livatino said. “We did a solid job. [Brother Rice] is hard to guard, and we did a great job defensively. I’m proud of how we ran our offense. We looked much improved.

“And Kevin and [senior forward Petey Mangan] continue to show their value all over the court.”

An offense that has struggled to shoot at a high percentage was on target Friday. The Ramblers went 18-for-30 from the floor, going 8-for-17 on 3s. They were 14-for-14 from the free throw line after entering the game averaging 55.7 percent.

“We were moving, cutting, the ball was not sticking,” Livatino said. “We looked good.”

Junior guard Connor Barrett finished with nine points, while senior guard Vahe Kalayjian provided some punch with eight points and three rebounds. Mangan had six points, six assists, two rebounds and took two charges.

Loyola and Brother Rice teamed up to raise roughly $4,500 for Metavivor to fund Stage IV breast cancer research.

Loyola next plays in Naples, Florida, at the Gulfshore Holiday Hoopfest. The Ramblers open the tournament Wednesday against Lely, of Naples.

Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola