Anthony Beane historically puts up his best numbers against Loyola, and the Rambler Killer struck again Wednesday at Gentile Arena. Beane, a senior guard, torched the Ramblers for 26 points on 7-of-10 shooting as Southern Illinois defeated Loyola, 72-62.
Loyola (7-6, 0-1 MVC) grabbed an early 9-8 lead, but a four-minute scoring drought put the Ramblers on the wrong end of a 17-9 game. During that stretch, Beane found a soft touch with two jumpers bouncing around the rim and dropping in.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by junior guard Milton Doyle and senior guard Devon Turk kept Loyola close at 24-19, but Southern Illinois hampered the Ramblers offense when 7-foot senior Deng Leek checked in at the 8:02 mark of the first half.
Leek, who averages only 2.4 minutes per game, played six minutes in the first half, totaling four points, four blocks and two rebounds. Having a rim protector in the game kept Loyola from scoring inside and allowed Southern Illinois’ guards to play tighter defense on Loyola’s outside shooters.
The Salukis opened up a 34-21 lead with 3:11 remaining after Beane drilled another trey, but the Ramblers finished the half on a 9-0 run.
Loyola clung within 43-37 with 12 minutes remaining thanks to a rare scoring spurt from senior guard Jeff White. Then a three-point play from Beane 10-2 run for Southern Illinois (12-2, 1-0 MVC). The Salukis led by at least eight points the rest of the game.
While Southern Illinois received contributions from several players at varying points, Beane was the rock that carried the team throughout. In five career games against Loyola, Beane is averaging 20.8 points with a 67.2 effective field-goal percentage.
On the other side, Doyle failed to be a factor for most of the second half. The Ramblers’ leader in scoring and assists had five points and seven dimes at halftime. In the second half, he did not end a single possession (with a score, assist or turnover) until the 6:48 mark.
As Loyola made a belated run to keep the final margin respectable, Doyle once again took over. He finished with 17 points.
Senior forward Montel James added 12 points and seven rebounds.
Loyola’s conference slate continues Saturday at Indiana State, which also lost its season opener Wednesday to Evansville.