ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands – Clayton Custer scored 19 points, and Loyola-Chicago held off a second-half Washington State rally for an 88-79 victory Monday in the fifth-place game at the Paradise Jam tournament.
Josh Hawkinson scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half for the Cougars (3-2), who fought back to pull within five, 81-76, with 41.9 seconds remaining.
But Loyola-Chicago hit 5 of 6 free throws over a 20-second span to push its lead back to double digits.
Ike Iroegbu scored 19 points, Conor Clifford 12, and Charles Callison and Malachi Flynn 10 each for Washington State.
“It was the start – the ball didn’t go down offensively,” Cougars coach Ernie Kent said. “Then we kinda lost our intensity, and they took control of the game on their end.”
Aundre Jackson and Donte Ingram added 17 points each, and Milton Doyle had 14 for the Ramblers (5-1), who led 38-30 at the half and pulled ahead by as many as 15 points midway through the second half.
“Coach (Porter Moser) puts a big emphasis on finding ways to win,” Custer said. “No matter how it looks, no matter if it’s ugly or not, we make sure we find ways to win. But we always felt like we were in a comfortable place.”
Washington State: The Cougars hurt themselves with turnovers, especially in the first half. Washington State had 11 turnovers in the first 20 minutes and 19 for the game, leading to 24 Loyola-Chicago points.
Loyola-Chicago: Even with only three players of 6-foot-8 or taller, the Ramblers were only outrebounded by Washington State by one board (33-32), which has the 6-10 Hawkinson and 7-foot Clifford as starters.
Washington State: Faces San Jose State at home Sunday.
Loyola-Chicago: Plays fellow Paradise Jam entrant NC State on Saturday in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.