Valparaiso, IN (Sports Network) - Ben Averkamp finished with 16 points, five assists, and five rebounds as the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers defeated the Valparaiso Crusaders, 63-54, in the Horizon League opener for both sides at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Christian Thomas contributed 14 points and six rebounds for Loyola (10-3, 1-0 Horizon), which won for the fourth time in a row. Cully Payne also made an impact by scoring 13 points and dishing out seven assists.
Ryan Broekhoff paced Valparaiso (10-5, 0-1) with 15 points and seven rebounds. Kevin Van Wijk also grabbed seven boards while he and LaVonte Dority each netted 10 points as the Crusaders had their three-game winning streak come to an end.
Loyola took a 26-24 lead into the intermission after it hit 41.7 percent of its field goal attempts including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. The Crusaders trailed by only two points despite shooting just 29.4 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.
Valpo heated up to knock down 45.5 percent of its attempts from the field after the break, but the Ramblers found their touch as well and drained 52.2 percent of their field goal tries. Loyola used an 11-3 run to take a double- digit, 50-40, advantage with just 5:48 left to play and held off the hosts the rest of the way.
The 3-point line played a big factor as the Ramblers sank 6-of-15 from distance and held Valpo to just 4-of-15 shooting from beyond the arc.