The Cleveland State Vikings fell to Loyola of Chicago, 67-55, at the Wolstein Center on Wednesday night after a long scoring drought in the second half.
With 13:39 left in the game, CSU took a 46-33 lead on Devon Long's free throw. The Vikings would only score nine points the rest of the game.
"We let one slip away today," said Vikings head coach Gary Waters. "In a four minute span, the whole game got away from us. I'm afraid we can't score 65 points."
The Vikings (10-11, 2-5 Horizon League) have only scored 65 points twice in the past 12 games. They scored 77 points against Division II Notre Dame College on Dec. 19 and scored 72 points in their upset of Detroit on Jan. 12.
Loyola (12-7, 2-4 HL) used a 15-2 run to tie the game at 48-48 on Ben Averkamp's dunk. Then CSU's Bryn Forbes and LU's Ben Averkamp traded three-pointers.
CSU would get a jumper from Charlie Lee and a dunk from Marlin Mason to take a 55-51 lead.
That would be the Viking's last basket of the game, as they went the final 4:58 without a point. LU scored the final 16 points to steal a rare road win in Cleveland.
It was LU's first win in Cleveland since the 2006-07 season.
"The last five minutes, I don't know where we were," said Forbes. "We just got outplayed. They were hitting shots. And we had plenty of breakdowns offensively and defensively."
Turnovers killed the Vikings again as they had six of their team's 10 turnovers in the final 11 minutes of the game.
The Ramblers took the lead for good on Devon Turk's three-pointer that made it 56-55.
"I'm really happy with how we finished the game," Loyola head coach Porter Moser said. "We really executed in the last five minutes. Three of our four League losses have basically come at the buzzer and we just didn't finish off those games. This is as good of a job of finishing as we've done."
LU shot 65 percent from the field in the second half and went 12-of-14 from the line.
"I thought we committed too many unnecessary fouls," said Waters. "That got them to one-on-ones early and now we are fighting on our heels."
The lone bright spot for the Vikings continues to be Forbes, who led the Vikings with a career-high 22 points on 7-of-13 from the field. The freshman from Lansing, Mich. has scored in double figures in nine straight games and 11 of the past 12 contests.
"Forbes is going to be a premier player in this league," said Moser. "He's hard to guard."
Mason was the only other Viking in double figures with 10 points, with eight of them coming in the first half.
Sophomore forward Christian Thomas led the Ramblers with 21 points on 9-of-13 from the field. LU also got contributions from Averkamp (18 points, five rebounds) and Turk (13 points).
The Vikings looked good early as they built a 19-8 lead, as Mason scored eight points and Forbes had seven.
Then, 21 seconds later, Mason picked up his second foul and sat on the bench for the rest of the half. Then 44 seconds after that, CSU's Tim Kamczyc would pick up his third foul and joined Mason on the bench.
Without Mason and Kamczyc on the floor, the Ramblers would take advantage, outscoring CSU 17-6 the rest of the half to tie the game at 25-25 at the intermission.
The Vikings will travel to Youngstown State on Saturday. SportsTime Ohio will televise the game, which starts at 2 p.m.
Tom Mieskoski is a contributor to Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
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