Loyola moves step closer to clinching Valley crown
Clayton Custer scored 20 points and Cameron Krutwig 18 to help Loyola fight off Valparaiso 80- 71 on Wednesday at Gentile Arena.
Donte Ingram added 16 points for the Ramblers ( 22- 5, 12- 3 Missouri Valley Conference), including four free throws in the last minute. Loyola, which has won four games in a row, has a two- game lead in the conference with three games left in its bid to win its first league title since 1987, when it was in the Horizon League.
Tevonn Walker scored 18 points for the Crusaders ( 13- 15, 4- 11), who missed three consecutive shots after a three- point play by Walker with 1: 28 left pulled them to 74- 69.
The Ramblers led 28- 21 at the half and shot 61 percent from the field ( 17- for- 28) in the second half. But Valparaiso stayed close by shooting 58 percent from the field ( 18- for- 31) after halftime.
Indiana 78, Illinois 68
Juwan Morgan, Robert Johnson and Aljami Durham each scored 14 points, and the Hoosiers ( 15- 12, 8- 7) shot a blistering 59 percent from the field on their way to a Big Ten victory against the Illini ( 12- 15, 2- 12) in Bloomington, Indiana.
Illinois trailed by 10 points at halftime but twice narrowed its deficit to two in the second half before coming up short.
Leron Black scored 20 points and Kipper Nichols 16 for the Illini, who shot 41 percent and were outrebounded 34- 23.
St. John’s 77, DePaul 76
Shamorie Ponds scored six of his 26 points in a late 10- 2 spurt that fueled the Red Storm ( 14- 13, 3- 11) to a Big East victory against the Blue Demons ( 10- 15, 3- 10) at Wintrust Arena. St. John’s has won four consecutive games after an 11- game losing streak.
Eli Cain led all five starters in double figures for DePaul, which lost despite outrebounding the Red Storm 45- 25. Marin Maric added 15 points, Max Strus 14, Tre’Darius McCallum 12 and Brandon Cyrus 10.
Michigan 74, Iowa 59
Duncan Robinson led four players in double figures with 18 points, and the No. 22 Wolverines ( 21- 7, 10- 5) overcame a shaky first few minutes to defeat the Hawkeyes ( 12- 16, 3- 12) in Big Ten action in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Illinois guard Te’Jon Lucas defends against Indiana guard Josh Newkirk during the first half Wednesday in Bloomington, Ind.
| MICHAEL CONROY/ AP