Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Earl Peterson scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half, and Loyola-Chicago drew first blood with a 65-58 victory over ULM in Game 1 of the CBI championship on Monday.
Loyola-Chicago was extremely efficient offensively, hitting 50.9 percent of its shots and only turning it over nine times in front of its home crowd.
Christian Thomas chipped in with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting, Montel James netted 11 points and Devon Turk added 10 for the Ramblers (23-13), who can take the title on Wednesday at ULM's home court.
Jamaal Samuel led the Warhawks (24-13) with 15 points, while Tylor Ongwae filled the box score with 12 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Ongwae, though, shot 3-of-19 from the floor, lowering ULM's overall shooting percentage to just 37.9.
Neither team led by more than five in a tight, slow-paced first half.
The Warhawks took a 26-24 advantage into the break and stayed in front until Loyola's 12-2 run in the early stages of the second half. James scored the first five points, and Milton Doyle's layup gave the hosts a 42-35 lead with under 14 minutes remaining.
ULM got as close as three, 59-56, following two free throws off a technical foul on Loyola head coach Porter Moser and a DeMondre Harvey tip-in.
The Ramblers answered with the next six points to close out the win, the last two coming when Doyle spun in the lane and got a left-handed layup to fall.
Points in the paint proved vital as Loyola owned a 34-18 advantage.