Loy­ola moves step closer to clinch­ing Val­ley crown

Chicago Sun-Times - - COLLEGE BASKETBALL - Sun- Times wires

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

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