CHICAGO -- D.J. Balentine scored 24 points and Evansville, leading by 18 in the second half, outlasted a Loyola comeback, winning 75-72 on Saturday.
Evansville led by as many as 12 points in the first half before settling for a 37-27 lead over the Ramblers at the break.
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Loyola didn't score in the first 4 minutes of the second half and Evansville bumped the lead to 45-27. But Loyola, trailing by ten with 2 minutes remaining, took advantage of Evansville fouls and a timely Joe Chrisman (20 points) steal and 3-point play and whittled the deficit to 73-72 with 8.6 seconds left. Duane Gibson hit two free throws to put Evansville up by three. Loyola missed a trey at the buzzer and the Aces survived the Rambler comeback.
Evansville (13-18, 6-12), with the victory, avoided sharing the Missouri Valley cellar position with first-year member Loyola (9-21, 4-14).