Loyola beats DePaul for first time since 1989
No player on either team was alive the last time Loyola of Chicago beat crosstown rival DePaul. Loyola coach Porter Moser was in his senior year at Creighton.
The Ramblers brought back memories of their glory days on Saturday, beating DePaul 69-61 on the Blue Demons' home court, ending an 11-game losing streak against their rival Chicago school that dated to 1989.
It was their third straight win and seventh in the last eight. The outcome pleased Moser, but he took the long view of what it meant.
"You can't win once every 23 years and call it a rivalry," Moser said. "We have to continue to do what we can to make it a rivalry."
Loyola point guard Cully Payne, a Schaumburg High School alum, did his share, scoring 24 points on 7-of-10 shooting and leading a patient offense that shot 48 percent from the floor.
"He just broke us down," DePaul guard Worrel Clahar said. "We gave him a lot of straight-line drives to the basket."
Payne's fakes include jumping when he passes, which few coaches care for. But his four assists only led the Ramblers, but kept DePaul off-balance.
"Cully Payne kind of controlled the game," DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. "He was the key to everything."
Christian Thomas added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Loyola (9-3) in just the Ramblers' second win on DePaul's home court in 21 meetings.
"We're always asking each other, who's the better team in the city (of Chicago)," Payne said. "Is it us? DePaul? UIC? Chicago State?"
For at least one day, it's Loyola. The Ramblers stopped DePaul's seven-game winning streak. The Blue Demons dropped to 9-4.
After forcing seven ties in the first half, the Ramblers took the lead for the first time on Payne's 3-point shot with 17:15 left. After a pair of lead changes, the Ramblers went on a 12-1 run highlighted by 3-pointers by Payne and Jordan Hicks.
Brandon Young led DePaul with 18 points. Clahar added 10 for the Blue Demons.
"We didn't come ready to play," Young said. "Loyola was fighting hard. We didn't attack like we usually do. We had no leadership from me."
Loyola, 50 years removed from its NCAA tournament title, last knocked off its crosstown rival on Jan. 21, 1989, when former DePaul athletic director Gene Sullivan was coaching the Ramblers and Loyola played at the since-demolished International Amphitheatre.
The Ramblers forged a 33-33 game at the half, coming from seven points down in the last eight minutes. Thomas' rebound from the lane forced the tie with 26 seconds left.
Loyola's comeback started midway through the first half. DePaul built a nine-point lead on Young's work inside and a pair of 3-pointers by Jamee Crockett after 10 minutes, only to see the Ramblers chip away after forward Melvin Cleveland was elbowed over the right eye and needed stitches.
A pair of baskets and a free throw by Payne cut DePaul's lead to five points with 7:40 left in the half. Later, the combination of Jeff White's 3-pointer and Thomas' tip rebound tied the game for the first time since the opening minutes.
Devon Turk's 3-pointer gave Loyola a 45-41 lead with 11:42 to play, and the lead grew to as many as 12 points in the final minutes.
"The first half, we had a chance to get something going, but I give them all the credit in the world," Purnell said.
DePaul's seven-game winning streak included victories over Auburn and Arizona State, teams with some pedigree. Loyola entered Allstate Arena with none.
"It looked like they had something to prove since they hadn't beaten us since we were born," Clahar said. "I don't think we were looking ahead (to Seton Hall). We just didn't come out hard."
It was the last game for each school before conference play begins, with both playing on Wednesday. DePaul opens Big East competition by hosting Seton Hall, while Loyola starts Horizon League play at Valparaiso.
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