ROME -- Freshman Matt O’Leary led five players in double-figures with a team-high 22 points and Loyola University Chicago overcame some early jitters to erase an early deficit en route to a 92-56 victory over All-Star Italy tonight. The Ramblers connected on 13 of 25 shots from three-point range en route to the victory. Tonight's game, which was played under FIBA rules, was the first of four contests for Loyola on its 14-day trip to Italy.
"I was very pleased with our energy level tonight. Whomever came in brought us energy," Loyola head coach Porter Moser said. "We had some jitters early on but I thought once we settled in we did some good things. We hit 13 threes tonight, which is something that would've taken us four games to do a year ago. I really liked how unselfishly we played. We have to get better defensively, but this is a starting point and that is the beauty of this trip. Tomorrow we head to Florence and we will watch some film and see our mistakes and where we need to improve."
Ben Averkamp, Jordan Hicks, Joe Crisman, Christian Thomas and Cully Payne earned the starting nod for the team's first game on this tour, but in the first few minutes, Loyola struggled to take care of the basketball and fell behind 10-7 before embarking on a 15-3 run to take a commanding 22-13 lead it would never relinquish.
From there, the Ramblers extended their edge to 34-19 with 4:29 left in the second quarter were never really threatened. Four straight three-pointers, two by Hicks and a pair from O'Leary, helped stretch that lead to 15 points.
Loyola pulled away in the second half, with O'Leary scoring 16 of his team-high 22 points in the game's final 20 minutes.
In addition to O'Leary's outstanding effort, the Ramblers also received 13 points, 10 rebounds and four assists from Hicks and Averkamp shook off a slow start to hit all five of his field goal attempts in the second half en route to 14 points. Devon Turk and Jeff White notched 11 points each, and Payne, playing his first game in nearly two years, totaled 10 assists.
Loyola will travel to Florence tomorrow and get ready for its next game, August 18, versus Pallacanestro Bassano del Grappa.
(Release courtesy of LoyolaRamblers.com)
Tags: Loyola - Men's Basketball