Loyola-Chicago (5-15) at Wright State (10-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, January 27th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Nutter Center (10,449) -- Dayton, Ohio. Television: Horizon League Network. Home Record: Loyola 3-5, Wright St. 7-5. Away Record: 2-10, Wright St 3-6. Neutral Record: 0-0, Wright St. 0-1. Conference Record: Loyola 0-10, Wright St. 5-5. Series Record: Wright State leads, 21-15.
GAME NOTES: The Ramblers of Loyola-Chicago attempt to snap an eight-game losing streak, as they visit the Nutter Center in Dayton to tangle with the Wright State Raiders in Horizon League action.
All of Loyola's defeats during its current slide have come against HL opponents, and the Ramblers are still trying to notch their first conference win. They fell to 0-10 in Horizon League play after suffering a 67-52 loss to Detroit on Wednesday night.
Wright State sits in the middle of the pack in terms of the conference standings at 5-5. The Raiders are 6-4 in their last 10 games and snapped a three-game slide on Wednesday with a 69-63 win over Illinois-Chicago.
With regard to the all-time series between these two teams, Wright States holds a 21-15 advantage. The Raiders have taken 10 of the last 11 encounters, including a 64-48 victory on December 29. Loyola hasn't won at the Nutter Center since 2005.
Strong defense has been the calling card for Loyola this season, as the team keeps the majority of its opponents in check by yielding just 61.1 ppg. Should the Ramblers retain that average, it would be the best defensive effort for the team since the 1949-1950 season. On the flip side however, their scoring output of 55.2 ppg is one of the worst in the nation, ranking 340th out of 344 NCAA Division I teams, and they have scored more than 60 points just once in league play thus far. The Ramblers' scoring woes continued against Detroit earlier in the week, shooting just 37 percent from the floor in the loss. L Loyola's modest scoring attack is led by Ben Averkamp, who ranks seventh in the Horizon League in scoring with 13.9 ppg. The junior has made big strides of late, scoring 20 points or more six times in the last 12 games after not totaling more than 19 points in the first 69 outings of his career. Walt Gibler helps shoulder the scoring load with 13.4 ppg, and he is just 16 points away from becoming the 38th player in school history to reach 1,000 for his career.
Wright State's staple has also been its impressive defensive play, as the team ranks fourth in the conference in point allowed (61.8 ppg) just behind Loyola. The Raiders' stout defense continued in Wednesday's win, as they held Illinois-Chicago to just 40.4 percent shooting from the floor and 16.7 percent from beyond the arc. Julius Mays led Wright State in the win as he has all season long, netting a career-high 33 points, which included a school-record 19-of-20 effort from the free-throw line. The outburst upped Mays' season scoring average to 14.4 ppg, moving him into a tie for fifth place in the league. While Mays' has been money from the free-throw stripe (.827), he is also the fourth-most efficient three-point shooter in the conference, connecting on 44 percent of his triples. Other than Mays however, the Raider offense struggles, ranking just ahead of Loyola with 58.8 ppg and they don't have another scorer averaging double figures at this point.
With both teams sharing similar personality traits, this is sure to be a low- scoring struggle where both defenses shine, giving Loyola the potential to steal the game. Wright State, however, will be riding momentum after a home win and will hand the Ramblers their nine straight setback.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome; Wright State 55, Loyola-Chicago 50
01/27 10:33:43 ET